A place for SGML and XML application developers.

April 26, 2006

DTD vs Schema

Filed under: XML — cangione @ 5:57 pm

Get the question "should I use a DTD or a Schema" all the time. Found an interesting article on that said in a sample of over 800 XSD schemas it found that few actually use anything more than DTDs could have provided.

One thing that I’ve found schema’s good for is when you want to have some rules enforcement for authoring but you are using the actual XML source files direct on the Web with CSS. Firefox does not complain if it finds an XML file with a doctype declaration and proceeds to render the XML document via CSS. Internet Explorer of course will not render an XML document that contains a doctype declaration.


March 23, 2006

oXygen Development Enviornment for XML a multi platform alternative to Altova XML Spy

Filed under: Eclipse,Software,XML,XSL,XSLT — cangione @ 9:44 pm

Downloaded the latest version of the <oXygen> XML IDE last night and was impressed with what I saw. <oXygen> is cross platform and supports both Linux and Windows as well as the Eclipse IDE. One things that I have always like about the Altova XML Spy suite (that they remove from their community edition) is the ability to collapse an element in the edit interface. This comes in really handy when working with complex documents. <oXygen> also has a nice Schema interface, XPATH 2.0 interface and diffing tool.

Altova charges big bucks for all of this functionality. The equivalent functionality in <oXygen> for 1/4 the price, cross platform to boot? Summary good deal!

NOTE: If you are running <oXygen> under Linux you do need a Sun JVM. The JVM that comes with the Fedora Core 4 & 5 distributions is not supported. To make it work in Fedora Core, rename the supplied /usr/bin/java binary to java.old and then include a link called java to the SUN JVM.

November 2, 2005

The Content Wrangler

Filed under: XML — shiftsport @ 11:17 am

Looking for information about Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)?

If so, look no further! The Content Wrangler has rustled up the latest DITA news for you. DITA is a hot topic in technical communication circles and it’s making headlines in the content management arena as well. Check out the interview with Puny Sen, Project Lead, Instructional Communications, Adobe Systems. Sen is candid, sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly about the software giant’s foray into the world of the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA).

If you’re a DocBook user, you may want to read the analysis from Norm Walsh, who attempts to tweak DocBook to address the four strengths he sees in DITA. Peter Meyer and Andrew Squire also compare DITA to DocBook and other standards.

Content Management Professionals recently announced the formation of a DITA Community.

Bill Trippe briefly examined DITA in a recent issue of Intelligent Enterprise magazine and the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) has launched a new line of DITA-logo clothing and accessories.

Don’t forget to sign up for the DITA 2006 Conference, sponsored by OASIS and brought to you by Bright Path Solutions, IBM and a host of content management and authoring tool vendors offering support for DITA.

Until next time… Jeff Deskins
[Text Provided by: Scott Abel, –]

September 8, 2005

Non breaking space Definition

Filed under: XML — cangione @ 8:09 pm

Lines are broken as result of one of two conditions. The first
condition is the presence of an explicit line breaking
character. The second condition results from a formatting algorithm
having selected among available line break opportunities; ideally the
chosen line break results in the optimal layout of the text.

NO-BREAK SPACE is the preferred character to
use where two words should be visually separated but kept on the same
line, as in the example of a currency value.

Entity defined for a non breaking space:

<!ENTITY nbsp   "&#160;">    


May 25, 2005

Rules for Reuse Explored

Filed under: XML — cangione @ 12:12 am

What makes a useful reuse object? In addition, how do you define that reuse object with XML markup? A good candidate should have the following qualities:
  • Self Contained
  • Standalone
  • Context Independent
Self Contained- The object should carry all of the information it needs to express itself in any context that it may find itself in. This would include things such as attributes and metadata .
Standalone- The object should be understandable outside of any context it may find itself in. This is especially important for translation purposes.
Context Independent- The object should not carry specific contexts. (Example: Refer to the previous section…). Context Independence and reusability can be in conflict. For example an entire instruction set for configuring a computer program may be similar for Windows and Unix but there are slight differences depending on the OS. Using attributes as a profiling axis may help overcome some of the problems but may introduce others in areas such as translation.

March 24, 2005

Setup XML for Arbortext Epic Editing and Direct Web Browser Display using CSS

Filed under: CSS,Software,XML — cangione @ 4:38 pm

There are times when working with XML documents that it would be nice
to be able to style the document directly. To do this with CSS here is
a recipe that works with Internet Explorer, Firefox and the Arbortext
Epic Editor.

  1. Add a css stylesheet reference in your XML document.
    href="docbook.css" type="text/css"?>

  2. Modify you XML document to hide the doctype declaration in a
    comment. This stops IE from looking for it but still allows Epic to
    find it. If you are only interested in making it work with Firefox you
    can skip this step.

    <?xml version="1.0"
    <?xml-stylesheet href="docbook.css" type="text/css"?>
    <!-- Fragment document type declaration subset:
    Arbortext, Inc., 1988-2004, v.4002
    <!DOCTYPE set PUBLIC "-//Arbortext//DTD DocBook XML V4.0//EN"

  3. Set writenonasciichar=char in Epic and save the XML
    document. This writes all of the character entities that may be present
    out as characters so the web browsers don’t complain about not being
    able to find the reference. This needs to either be set every time you
    edit the instance in Epic or via an ACL package.
  4. Create your CSS. A small sample docbook.css:
    book {
    book>title {


    title {
    para {
    padding: 20px;


March 21, 2005

Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)

Filed under: XML — cangione @ 11:23 pm

Introduction Article:
  • Designed for Technical Documentation
  • Concept of a Topic as the main building block
  • Topic Reuse
  • Non-nesting structure of topics I highly agree with. Several advantages I see such as assured relevance when a topic is reused. Also helps with performance in certain situations.
  • Object-oriented concept

March 18, 2005

Typography Issues Internationally

Filed under: XML — cangione @ 2:41 pm

For some more information about typography issues internationally, see .

While it dates back to 1998 typography changes slowly so it is up to date.

March 16, 2005

Holes in Microsoft Office XML

Filed under: XML — @ 8:46 am

An interesting take on XML support in Office.

March 14, 2005

Unicode Character Reference Site

Filed under: XML — cangione @ 9:45 am

March 11, 2005

Structured FrameMaker Review

Filed under: XML — @ 1:51 pm

 Review of Structured FrameMaker:

Binary XML Article

Filed under: XML — @ 1:51 pm

 Article on the Pros and Cons of Binary XML to speed up XML Data transmission.

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