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1.2. W3C XML Schema

XML 1.0 included a set of tools for defining XML document structures, called Document Type Definitions (DTDs). DTDs provide a set of tools for defining which element and attribute structures are permitted in a document, as well as mechanisms for providing default values for attributes, defining reusable content (entities), and some kinds of metadata information (notations). While DTDs are widely supported and used, many XML developers quickly outgrew the capabilities DTDs provide. An alternative schema proposal, XML-Data, was even submitted to the W3C before XML 1.0 was a Recommendation.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), keeper of the XML specification, sought to build a new language for describing XML documents. It needed to provide more precision in describing document structures and their contents, to support XML namespaces, and to use an XML vocabulary to describe XML vocabularies. The W3C's XML Schema Working Group spent two years developing two normative Recommendations, XML Schema Part 1: Structures, and XML Schema Part 2: Datatypes, along with a nonnormative Recommendation, XML Schema Part 0: Primer.

W3C XML Schema is designed to support all of these applications. An initial set of requirements, formally described in the XML Schema Requirements Note (http://www.w3.org/TR/NOTE-xml-schema-req), listed a wide variety of usage scenarios for schemas as well as for the design principles that guided its creation.

In the rest of this book, we explore the details of W3C XML Schema and its many capabilities, focusing on how to apply it to specific XML document situations.

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