Re: HTML and SGML declaration

Daniel W. Connolly (
Tue, 21 Nov 1995 13:35:03 -0500

In message <>, Terry Allen writes:
>Dan and I gave different answers to the question of whether an
>HTML document may have a prepended SGML declaration. Dan pointed to
>the following passage in RFC 1866:
>| 3.3. HTML Public Text Identifiers
>| To identify information as an HTML document conforming to this
>| specification, each document must start with one of the following
>| document type declarations.
>and I had in mind ISO 8879 4.283:
>"SGML document entity: The SGML entity that begins an SGML document
>[as distinguished from SUBDOCs and text entities]. It contains,
>at a minimum, an SGML declaration, a base document type declaration,
>and the start and end (if not all) of a base document element."

See also: 6.2.3 "Implied SGML Declaration"

... the system can imply the SGML declaration ...

>It is not possible to override 4.283 in the HTML spec;

It is possible, and we did it. It's called an application convention.
Just like null end-tags and all that. I don't understand your point.