A Compact Document Type Definition (DTD) for Structuring XML Content

Steve Hoenisch

xc.dtd is a minimalist document type definition for structuring and reusing narrative-oriented XML content. The content model of xc.dtd is structural, not semantic, yielding an exceptionally compact yet flexible grammar. It favors the paragraph.

Although the DTD contains a rich set of metadata based on RDF, Dublin Core, and Prism, the grammar minimizes and constrains the available markup to an abstract structural set fortified with a narrow selection of inline elements from XHTML. If output directly, the html-derived elements and attribute sets are valid against the XHTML 1.0 Transitional DTD, and some comply with XHTML 1.0 Strict. When XHTML elements have been used, however, only part of the attribute sets appear, typically id and class. For all elements, the class attribute can be mapped directly to a CSS property in the output or display. The link module is XHTML 1.0 Transitional.

The DTD contains a migration path to DITA, but the path has not been tested; you're on your own.

The DTD and the XSLT stylesheets are suited for embedding in PHP web pages. In the PHP layer, you can embed your ads and other code.

Why did I write xc.dtd for my own use when I already have a fully implemented and customized versions of DITA 1.0 and DITA 3.1.2 ? (See e.g. http://www.criticism.com/md/crit1.xml, which uses http://www.criticism.com/dita/dtd/topic.dtd.)

Here's why:

It's simple. Which means it's easy for others to learn easy to use. You can use it produce large volumes of content quickly and effectively.

It's highly adaptable to different document types because it uses only a few key abstract structures and places the metainfo about those structures in attributes (e.g., a key structure is contentUnit. You can use contentUnit for all the DITA information types and then just specify the DITA type (e.g., task) in an attribute).

It uses open standards for metadata (for example: RDF, Dublin Core, Prism).

The simple structure of the DTD means you can easily process it with ActionScript for Flash.

It's straightforward to parse documents based on the DTD with PHP. (I couldn't get Sabletron to parse documents validated with DITA 3.1.2 implementation, but I admittedly didn't spend much time trying to fix it.

XC is easy to maintain and easy to process with XSLT. DITA can require too much customization and programming for a small team, especially if you want to get well-designed documents and web pages.

--Steve Hoenisch

XML DTD icon http://www.Criticism.Com/xc/xc.dtd

Bookmark and Share