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Subject: Re: basic question
From: Chris Maden <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:General discussion of Extensible Markup Language <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 2 Jun 1998 17:13:59 -0400

text/plain (45 lines)

[Vince Cardillo]
> O.K. that question is complicated.  Let me start with how YOUR
> browser works.  Your browser no matter what has something called a
> Document Type Definition (DTD), when it sees the tag <b> on a page
> it checks the DTD for <b>.  It finds in a complicated language that
> it's supposed to make the enclosed text bold.  The DTD tells
> Mr.Browser what to display after it asks, then Mr.Browser displays
> it correctly.

This is a pretty confused, and wrong, description of affairs.  Vince,
this isn't a flame, but I felt I had to post a public correction so
that your message wouldn't confuse any others new to XML.

The DTD says nothing about display.  The DTD defines the legal
structure of a document type: "chapters contain exactly one title,
followed by two or more paragraphs," for example.  This part of the
DTD isn't actually interesting to most browsers; they can make sense
of an XML document without it.  (The defined types of attributes and
entity declarations are more interesting.)

The *stylesheet* defines presentation; in CSS, you might find

b { font-weight: bold;
    font-family: iso-monospace; }

In XSL, you might find

<xsl:rule pattern="b">
  <sequence font-family="iso-monospace" font-weight="bold">

A document only has one DTD, but it can have many stylesheets.

Vince and others new to the language: I strongly recommend the XML
FAQ: <URL:> as a starting point; it answers some
basic questions, and has links to other sources of information.

<!ENTITY crism PUBLIC "-//O'Reilly//NONSGML Christopher R. Maden//EN"
"<URL> <TEL>+1.617.499.7487
<USMAIL>90 Sherman Street, Cambridge, MA 02140 USA" NDATA SGML.Geek>

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