[XML-SIG] Re: RSS and stuff

Dan Libby danda@netscape.com
Wed, 02 Jun 1999 01:05:13 -0700

Lars, glad to see that others are using the format, even if it is "too
simple".  ;-)   I'm sure you'll be glad to hear that we are doing our
validation with python and the excellent XML libraries you all have
contributed to.

FYI, the current validator is very specific.  It understands the "0.9"
format intimately at the code level.  However, in my spare time I've
been working on a generic validator that will read in a schema file (of
my own devise, not a real XML schema) that's written in XML, and then
validate a document based on that.  That way, format changes should be
simple to implement, at least from a validation standpoint.  Hopefully I
can get it installed soon, and possibly even distribute the source, such
as it is.  (This is my first Python + first DOM coding project).  This
seems like a pretty obvious thing to me, I'm surprised that XML has
gotten as far as it has without real support for enforcing data types,
lengths, ranges, etc.

> I sat down yesterday and had a look at RSS, a format for news
> headlines which is used by Slashdot, mozilla.org and Scripting News,
> among others. It was very simple (a bit too simple, in fact), so I sat
> down and made a simple RSS library and client in Python. This client
> produces a web page when it is run. (I run it from cron.)

What would you like to see / not see in the format?  It really is just
supposed to be a summary. Ideally, we would like to support all of
Dublin Core eventually, but the problem is that the additional data may
not actually be used, and marketing folks felt it would be simpler to
not confuse folks too much.

> The 'specification' and lists of providers can be found at:
> (warning: the RSS guide is not very accurate technically)

What in particular did you find that was inaccurate?  I agree it is not
very technical, as it is aimed at a pretty general audience, however, it
should be pretty accurate.

This brings me to another question.  Do you all believe it is the "right
thing" to publish a DTD for a format, even if the DTD by itself is not
sufficient to validate the document?  In other words, an XML editor
application referencing the DTD would allow the user to construct a
document that is non-valid with regards to our rules.  It seems to me
that the DTD then becomes something of a distraction, because compliance
with it, by itself, is not much more useful than well-formedness, from a
validation point of view.