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To begin with, let's talk about the DTD. A DTD is an import from the world of the Standard Generalized Markup Language, or SGML. In other words, you have to know something about SGML to create a DTD that you then use to describe an XML document. Sound confusing? It can be, but DTDs currently represent the best-understood and most powerful method for defining XML document markup, contents, and structure.
My favorite DTD references include: - Charles F. Goldfarb's immortal classic: The SGML Handbook (Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 1991. List Price: $95.00. ISBN: 0- 19-853737-9) combines the SGML specification with cogent commentary and exegesis that includes useful coverage of DTD concepts, design techniques, syntax, and semantics.
- Eve Maler and Jean El Andaloussi wrote Developing SGML DTDs from Text to Model to Markup (Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 1996. List Price: $65.00. ISBN: 0-13-309881-8). Although this book is out of stock at the publisher's, it remains the single best title on the subject I know of, despite its failure to address XML issues (of course, it predates XML, so it's not the authors' fault, by any means).
- Charlie Morris's online tutorial "How to Create a Vocabulary" (http://www.wdvl.com/Authoring/Languages/XML/Tutorials/Building_Languages/create_vocab.html)does a wonderful job of bringing the concept of DTDs home for XML developers.
Ed Tittel is a principal at LANWrights, Inc.: a wholly owned subsidiary of LeapIt.com. LANwrights offers training, writing and consulting services on Internet, networking, and Web topics, plus various IT certifications (Microsoft, Sun/Java, Prosoft/CIW).