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   Re: Roots of the DTD

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  • From: m.mower@unl.ac.uk (Matt Mower)
  • To: "Simon St.Laurent" <SimonStL@classic.msn.com>
  • Date: Wed, 10 Jun 1998 15:16:02 +0000 (GMT)

On Fri, 05 Jun 1998 13:12:59 +0000 (UT), "Simon St.Laurent"
<SimonStL@classic.msn.com> wrote:

Please forgive me for jumping into this conversation at this late stage,
and let me prefix my comments with the information that I am a relative
novice in XML with no SGML background....

>>I don't like telling people they can use DOCTYPE or XSchema PIs but not both. 
> I 
>>also don't like having to write a long list of conflict resolutions -- it 
>>makes XSchemas harder to use.  In both cases, it feels like we are imposing 
>>requirements not in the XML spec.  Ideas?
>Perhaps the simplest way to deal with this is to leave roots _out_ of the 
>XSchema PI. I always thought it was kind of silly to declare it in DOCTYPE - 
>after all, the root element should be the first and last thing you see in a 
>document, and an application should be able to figure it out.  It seems to me 
>like redundancy, though there may be reasons for it which I haven't fathomed.

If you want a reason for specifying a root element type external to a
particular document type then I think I can give you one:

I agree that once you have a document the root element is obvious,
however when creating new documents it is less so. My particular focus
is on editing tools for users who will not easily grasp XML.

We are looking at tools to edit certain types of document, and ideally
want the tool to do most of the work. Hence we need as much intelligence
in the document definition as possible (DTD's seem pretty poor in this

Given that the DTD doesn't define the root element a tool cannot
immediately know how to start creating the document - leaving this
choice up to the user, who may also not know.

When writing a particular DTD I would like the *option* of being able to
specify what the root element *must* be for a document that wants to
conform (is that right word?)  It's my type of document after all!

>The other reason for ignoring roots is that we _can't_ change DOCTYPE, so I 
>think we'd better just stay out of its way.

In my case once it has been set then you are safe to leave it alone.

I hope I am not missing the point too much.

Best regards.


p.s. I have been a bit vague with my use of 'document definition', when
I say DTD I usually mean it in an external sense.

Matt Mower, Information Systems Team, University of North London
T: +44-(0)171-753-3288 F: +44-(0)171-753-5120 E: m.mower@unl.ac.uk

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