Whence the HTML DTD [was] Re: More syntax details in HTML 2.0?

David Morris (dwm@shell.portal.com)
Thu, 15 Jun 95 16:29:40 EDT

On Thu, 15 Jun 1995, Joe English wrote:

> SoftQuad Panorama has surely solved this problem;
> can anyone comment? (I don't have a Windows box handy
> so I've been unable to read the Panorama docs.)

>From memory ... as I understand it ... they have what they admit
is a less than optimal approach where they create a local look-aside
data base which relates DTD names to URLs for retrieving the DTD.
As I recall, the user may have to get involved the first time a new
DTD is encountered. This is a laudable pragmatic approach. I don't
think it cuts the mustard for access to a 'standard' definition
of a widely used DTD such as HTML.

The archiving and accessiblity of DTDs associated with IETF
standards such as HTML should be as rigorous as the handling of
the standard itself.

Could this be as simple as getting the IESG to accept RFCxxxx.DTD as
the DTD associated with RFCxxxx ? Another approach would be for
the IESG/IETF to 'certify' their WWW server as providing valid
copies of standards related materials (this may be already true)
and define a URL like:


where the htmldtd cgi program would expect PUBLIC or SYSTEM or
whatever for TTTTTT and the sgml dtd id string as the value of IDID....

In the HTML standard we might even suggest a search order in that
the http server providing the document would be tried first (or last).

Dave Morris