DTDs soon available via PUBLIC URI

Paul W. Frields stickster at gmail.com
Sun Apr 29 21:36:27 UTC 2007

We use two specialty DTDs in the Docs Project, "rpm-info.dtd" and
"entities.dtd".  Using SGML, these DTDs define the elements and
attributes allowed in an XML file which subscribes to them.

When you declare a document type using an XML DTD, you must provide a
URI for that DTD, either using the SYSTEM or PUBLIC type.  A SYSTEM type
declaration is always a file local to your system, and that's the kind
we've made use of for our "rpm-info" and "entities" specialty files in
the Docs Project.  A typical DTD in one of our "rpm-info.xml" files
might look like this:

<!DOCTYPE rpm-info SYSTEM "../../docs-common/packaging/rpm-info.dtd">

But what happens when docs-common is located somewhere different on
another contributor's system?  This can now happen since we have
different module targets for CVS, such as "release-notes" or
"release-notes-devel" or "release-notes-devel-dir".

Enter the PUBLIC type declaration.  The PUBLIC type is used for a DTD
that's available, well, publicly. :-)  Things like DocBook XML use
PUBLIC DTDs because you can find the DTD on the web in several
locations, including:


A PUBLIC DTD always has a "formal public identifier" (FPI) that sets
that DTD apart from all others, but allows the same DTD to be published
in many different places without any confusion.  For instance, the
DocBook XML 4.4 is always: 

  "-//OASIS//DTD DocBook XML 4.4//EN"

...no matter whether it's published at www.docbook.org,
www.oasis-open.org, or available locally on your Fedora system in
your /usr/share/sgml/docbook/xml-dtd-4.4-1.0-30.1/ folder.  It's
perfectly permissible to make your own FPIs as long as you don't use
another DTD's FPI.  (And of course you should play nice and not make it
hard for people to tell it's yours.)

I've recently made the following FPIs for our rpm-info and entities DTD

  "-//Fedora//DTD Docs RPM-INFO V1.0//EN"
  "-//Fedora//DTD Docs ENTITIES V1.0//EN"

I'm also publishing them at the following URLs, respectively:


This means that all our rpm-info and entities documents can start using
those URIs to avoid pesky validation errors when your docs-common/
directory ends up in a different place than it was when the rpm-info or
entities XML was first written.  If you have an XML-aware editor that's
net-savvy, it will automatically retrieve the DTD over the network and
validate using it.

Paul W. Frields, RHCE                          http://paul.frields.org/
  gpg fingerprint: 3DA6 A0AC 6D58 FEC4 0233  5906 ACDB C937 BD11 3717
      Fedora Project:  http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/PaulWFrields
  irc.freenode.net: stickster @ #fedora-docs, #fedora-devel, #fredlug
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