Document Type Definition

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Document Type Definition (DTD) is a set of markup declarations that define a document type for SGML-family markup languages (SGML, XML, HTML). DTDs were a precursor to XML schema and have a similar function, although different capabilities.

DTDs use a terse formal syntax that declares precisely which elements and references may appear where in the document of the particular type, and what the elements’ contents and attributes are. DTDs also declare entities which may be used in the instance document.

XML uses a subset of SGML DTD.

As of 2009 newer XML Namespace-aware schema languages (such as W3C XML Schema and ISO RELAX NG) have largely superseded DTDs. A namespace-aware version of DTDs is being developed as Part 9 of ISO DSDL[1]. DTDs persist in applications which need special publishing characters such as the XML and HTML Character Entity References, which were derived from the larger sets defined as part of the ISO SGML standard effort.


Associating DTDs with documents

A Document Type Declaration associates a DTD with an XML document. Document Type Declarations appear in the syntactic fragment doctypedecl near the start of an XML document.[1] The declaration establishes that the document is an instance of the type defined by the referenced DTD.

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