D. Building Schema Modules


This appendix is normative.

XHTML modules are implemented as XML Schemas. When these XML Schemas are assembled in a specific manner (described in Developing Schemas with defined and extended modules), the resulting Schema is a representation of a complete document type. This representation can then be used for validation of instances of the document type.

The key to combining these schema components into a meaningful, cohesive schema is the rules used to define the individual XML Schemas. This section defines those rules. When these rules are followed, markup language authors can be confident that their modules will interface cleanly with other XHTML-compatible modules.

Modules conforming to these rules also need to satisfy the conformance requirements defined in XHTML Family Module Conformance in order to be called XHTML Family Modules.

D.1. Named Content Models

This specification classifies named content model into categories and names them consistently using the following suffixes

model group definitions use the suffix .content when they are used to represent the content model of an element type.
model group definitions use the suffix .class when they are used to represent elements of the same class.
model group definitions use the suffix .mix when they are used to represent a collection of element types from different classes.
model group definitions use the suffix .extra when they are used to extend other groups above.
model group definitions add the suffix .export when they are to be used by a host language as the basis for extending the related content model (e.g., xhtml.Flow.mix could have an xhtml.Flow.mix.export that defines a collection of elements that must be included in a redefinition of the xhtml.Flow.mix by a host language.
named complex type definitions use the suffix .type when they are used to represent type of an element. Types usually include the .attlist and .content components.
attribute groups use the suffix .attlist when they are used to represent the attributes for a specific element.
attribute groups use the suffix .attrib when they are used to represent a group of tokens representing one or more complete attribute specifications within an .attlist declaration.

For example, in HTML 4, the %block; parameter entity is defined to represent the heterogeneous collection of element types that are block-level elements. In this specification, the corollary named content model is xhtml.Block.mix.

When defining named content models in the classes defined here, modules should scope the names of the model group definitions and attribute groups by using unique prefixes (this recommendation uses the prefix xhtml.). For example, the content model for the element myelement in the module mymodule could be named mymodule.myelement.content. Other schemes are possible. Regardless of the scheme used, module authors should strive to ensure that named content model they define are named uniquely so that they do not collide with other named content model and so that the interface methods for the module are obvious to its users.

D.2. Defining the Namespace of a Module

XHTML requires that the elements and attributes declared in a module be within a defined XML namespace [XMLNAMES]. The identification of this namespace is an arbitrary URI. XHTML does not require that a module declare its target namespace using the targetnamespace attribute. XHTML Modularization using XML Schema has adopted a "late binding" approach to associating with a namespace. This permits the development of so-called "chameleon" modules, where the elements and attributes of a module can be incorporated into more than one namespace.

D.2.1. Global and Local Element Declarations

While XML Schema allows an the definition of global and local element declarations, to be compatible with DTD definitions of XHTML Modularization module implementations must not declare local elements.

D.2.2. Global and Local Attribute Declarations

While the approach defined here permits the definition of global as well as local attribute declarations, schema authors should consider the consequences of such definitions on an document instance. Global attributes must always be explicitly prefixed in a instance document by declaring a namespace prefix xmlns:prefix, while local attributes depending on the schema implementation may be explicitly prefixed.

D.3. Importing External Namespace Schema Components

An XML Schema provides definitions that belong to a given target namespace. A schema must use the import element to include components from an XML Schema that uses a different target namespace. The import element in XML Schema requires a namespace attribute and a optional schemaLocation attribute. Multiple modules (included in a document type) importing components from the same external namespace but providing different schema location URI values will result in invalid driver schema. To avoid such issues modularization requires that modules importing external schemas must not provide a schemaLocation attribute so that a document type's driver file may import these schemas with the schemaLocation attribute.

D.4. Datatype Definitions and Namespaces

While the elements and attributes of a module should NOT be in a namespace until they are used by a markup language, the datatypes that a module relies upon may need to be. This is especially important if the datatypes are to be shared with other markup languages. If your module has datatypes that you want to share with other modules, you should define a namespace for those datatypes, place the datatype definitions in a separate "module" and bind that module to the namespace. In XHTML Modularization, for example, we use the namespace http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml/datatypes/.

D.5. Content Model Redefinitions

Quite often modules change the content model of elements defined by other modules. For example, the XHTML Events module adds event attributes to elements defined by the forms module. It is also possible that multiple modules may change the content model of a single element defined by a third module, for example both XHTML Events Module and XHTML Image Map module add attributes to elements in form module.

XML Schemas allows for changes to a declared content model using the redefine element. While XML Schema supports the use of a redefine element that redefines the named content model and type definition, XML Schema does not directly support redefinition of an element or attribute declaration.

To support element content model redefinitions, all content models are defined with a .content identifier. This identifier can be easily redefined when creating a driver module.