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   Re: Parser Behaviour (serious)

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  • From: Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com>
  • To: xml-dev@xml.org
  • Date: Sun, 02 Apr 2000 11:02:38 -0700

At 10:22 AM 4/2/00 +0100, Peter Murray-Rust wrote:
>What's wrong? Ah! The parser is trying to resolve the URL for the DTD and
>since I'm offline (connections cost money over here) it can't. So the file
>I have created can only be processed as XML if:
>	(a) I am connected online
>	(b) the W3C maintain *** for all time *** a means of dereferencing either
>the FPI or the URL
>I can't believe this is what the community wants. It fooled me, and I've
>been working with XML for some time.

I think it's simpler than you make it out to be.  You have to decide
whether, for what you need to do, you need the DTD or not.  If you need the
DTD, then either you have to have a net connection to where it is, or you
need to maintain a local copy and use a "file://" URL.  Another option is
you could implement a Public Identifier resolver, which is pretty easy
even though there's not yet a standardized interoperable scheme for this.

If you *don't* need to read the DTD for your task at hand, then you don't
have a problem.  You say the file "can only be processed as XML if" and
I just don't buy this; it is explicitly OK to skip the external subset
and in fact a common practice in many processing models (in particular
with XHTML the DTD is going to be an order or two of magnitude bigger
than the average instance, so the fetching/processing cost is nontrivial).

Clearly, this presupposes that the software you're using has some sort of
switch that allows you to tell it whether or not to read the DTD; which 
seems like a basic must-have and one that exists in every XML tool I've
worked with.

What am I missing? -Tim

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