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From David Crossley <>
Subject Re: [Patch] tweaks to DTDs and XML
Date Sun, 10 Feb 2002 05:30:26 GMT
Stefano Mazzocchi wrote:
> David Crossley wrote:
> > Stefano Mazzocchi wrote:
> > > David Crossley wrote:
> > > > Hi Stefano, my usual thing when i start out on an XML
> > > > project is to validate one of the existing XML documents
> > > > to be sure that the infrastructure is set up properly.
> > >
> > > Yeah, I didn't do that... because I knew that somebody else
> > > would have done it :)
> > 
> > Please do not rely on that.
> David, it is by leaving little itches for people to scratch that I
> managed to make a good open development community.

<snip summary="useful and valid explanation of the Stefano
mechanism for recruitment"/>

> Those imperfections that I don't care about are 'ego traps' and I leave
> them around because I'm a person hunter: I don't care about good
> software, I care about good people and having them in my team.
> Those 'ego traps' are the way I do recruiting for open development
> communities.

I do understand your approach. However, i feel that it may
be flawed. Not everyone is driven by ego. Some, like me,
are driven by frustration and wanting to get beyond the basic.
These types may easily leave the project, even though there
is no need or intention to turn them away. Actually i think
that the ego-driven types are not as useful.

Perhaps a better approach is to document such known
imperfections in a "To Do" list (even just as one-liners).
In that way the ego types can still blow their trumpet about
having fixed a major problem, while other types can
consistently get on with the job.

<snip summary="encouraging a strong community is of
primary importance"/>

<snip summary="Stefano borrowed Sam's asbestos
underwear :-)"/>

> > On the cocoon-dev list i am having trouble getting people to
> > consider validation issues.
> You do? from where I stand, I think you did a great job and
> people are (admittedly slowly) listening.

Thanks. The entity resolver was the main infrastructure step.
Validation is the next step in building a solid framework. It did
function for a while with Cocoon build docs, but recently fell
over when Vadim fixed a bug with XSLTProcessorImpl.
Validation then hit the namespace wall and squashed itself.

> It might be that the problems are the DTD technology which
> is not powerful enough in a heavily namespaced world
> like Cocoon.

Agreed. However, DTDs are still a useful way to define
the allowed structure of an XML instance. Cocoon should
still be able to perfom basic validation, at least of its own
configuration files and shipped doco. I will persist there.

> Have you ever considered switching over to RelaxNG?

Mostly definitely. From the little investigation that i have
done, it seems like the way to go. I intend to bypass
XML Schema and go straight to RelaxNG.

> Should we for Forrest?

I do think so. We should investigate RelaxNG as we go.

However, DTDs are here-and-now and they provide a
useful basic validation infrastucture. I see DTDs having
an additional role. They clearly define the structure of an
XML instance for documentation purposes.

So i think that we still need solid DTDs to begin with.
Then those DTDs can be automatically converted to basic
RelaxNG which can be subsequently fine-tuned. In passing
i have seen some tools for converting well-written DTDs
into RelaxNG - i will investigate.

> > That is my main point. It is so easy to make blunders
> > when authoring XML instances or when designing DTDs.
> > One cannot rely on the eye (or even on editing tools)
> > and must use a validating parser.
> or rely on picky people like you :) [sorry, I had to say that]

However, i do not have spare time to be "Capitan Validation".
I would like to be able to rely on a solid XML framework and
get on with contributing other stuff.

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