Layers, again (was Re: fixing (just) namespaces and validation)

Simon St.Laurent simonstl at
Wed Sep 8 23:13:54 BST 1999

At 04:55 PM 9/8/99 -0400, David Megginson wrote:
>Does DDML handle Namespaces?  If so, then there's your spec.  There's
>no law that says you have to wait for the W3C to bless something, and
>DDML has the (good) characteristic of not breaking existing XML tools,
>a characteristic missing from any modification of DTD syntax.

Sure.  But does DDML have any implementations?  No.  Perhaps that's my own
fault, but it seems a lot easier to add a PI to DTDs, which doesn't break
anything, than to write a DDML implementation from scratch.

>There was no warning, however, that DTD syntax might change.

I think you're overestimating the syntax changes being described.  A PI
would be ignored by parsers that didn't understand it, and james anderson's
suggestion of interpreting attribute declarations makes even less impact.
(I don't think that one will necessarily work, however.)

>See above.  We talked about pre-release pragmatism during the XHTML
>discussion -- keep everything small, simple, and modular -- but we
>also have to consider post-release pragmatism -- don't screw around
>with released specs until you have a very good,
>world-is-about-to-blow-up reason.  This is more of a
>my-car-radio-is-stuck-on-AM reason.

Have you listened to AM radio in Central New York?  Never mind that question.

I don't think what I'm proposing is inconsistent with the values you are
espousing. If I felt it was going to take a drastic reconfiguration of DTD
syntax, with implications for all those corporations in search of
stability, I wouldn't be bothering.  Instead, it seems like I'm applying
the small, simple, and modular approach to a problem that has irritated a
lot of folks for a long time.  It's taking something useful from one
situation and applying it to another - reuse in a different context, with a
little added information.

And, as always, nothing I post has any official standing anyway, right?

Simon St.Laurent
XML: A Primer (2nd Ed - September)
Building XML Applications
Inside XML DTDs: Scientific and Technical
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