The Java EE 5 Tutorial

Generating a Document Type Declaration

A document type declaration (DTD) defines the structural rules for the XML document in which the document type declaration occurs. XML documents are not required to have a DTD associated with them. In fact, the books example does not include one.

This section shows you how to use the jsp:output element to add a document type declaration to the XML output of books.jspx. It also shows you how to enter the document type declaration manually into books.jspx so that the JSP container will interpret it and validate the document against the DTD.

As shown in Table 6–3, the jsp:output element has three attributes that you use to generate the document type declaration:

The rules for using the attributes are as follows:

This syntax notation summarizes these rules:

<jsp:output (omit-xmldeclaration=
    "yes"|"no"|"true"|"false"){doctypeDecl} />
doctypeDecl:=    (doctype-root-element="rootElement"
    | (doctype-root-element="rootElement"

Suppose that you want to reference a DTD, called books.DTD, from the output of the books.jspx page. The DTD would look like this:

<!ELEMENT books (book+) >
<!ELEMENT book (surname, firstname, title, price, year,
                         description, inventory) >
<!ELEMENT surname (#PCDATA) >
<!ELEMENT firstname (#PCDATA) >
<!ELEMENT title (#PCDATA) >
<!ELEMENT price (#PCDATA) >
<!ELEMENT year (#PCDATA) >
<!ELEMENT description (#PCDATA) >
<!ELEMENT inventory (#PCDATA) >

To add a document type declaration that references the DTD to the XML request output generated from books.jspx, include this jsp:output element in books.jspx:

<jsp:output doctype-root-element="books"
         doctype-system="books.DTD" />

With this jsp:output action, the JSP container generates this document type declaration in the request output:

<!DOCTYPE books SYSTEM "books.DTD" />

The jsp:output need not be located before the root element of the document. The JSP container will automatically place the resulting document type declaration before the start of the output of the JSP document.

Note that the JSP container will not interpret anything provided by jsp:output. This means that the JSP container will not validate the XML document against the DTD. It only generates the document type declaration in the XML request output. To see the XML output, run http://localhost:8080/books/books.jspx in your browser after you have updated books.WAR with books.DTD and the jsp:output element. When using some browsers, you might need to view the source of the page to actually see the output.

Directing the document type declaration to output without interpreting it is useful in situations when another system receiving the output expects to see it. For example, two companies that do business by means of a web service might use a standard DTD, against which any XML content exchanged between the companies is validated by the consumer of the content. The document type declaration tells the consumer what DTD to use to validate the XML data that it receives.

For the JSP container to validate books.jspx against book.DTD, you must manually include the document type declaration in the books.jspx file rather than use jsp:output. However, you must add definitions for all tags in your DTD, including definitions for standard elements and custom tags, such as jsp:useBean and c:forEach. You also must ensure that the DTD is located in the domain-dir/config/ directory so that the JSP container will validate the JSP document against the DTD.