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These DTD handicaps aren't going unnoticed, and the W3C is presently developing an XML Schema language (currently a W3C Candidate Recommendation) that is more expressive and powerful than DTDs.
The XML Schema language is an XML application and will likely become the standard way XML schemas are formally declared.
Note: To validate an XML Document you need to associate your XML Document with a DTD, Relax NG Schema, Schematron Schema, or XML Schema.
See Validating an XML Document against a DTD, Validating an XML Document against a Relax NG Schema, Validating an XML Document against a Schematron Schema, and Validating an XML Document against an XML Schema for more information.
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XML schemas are necessary for communicating the structure of an XML document type to a machine. A person can easily interpret and understand both XML instances from the words used to describe their components.
DTDs are written in a syntax other than XMLs' and rely upon post-processing for validation. However, DTDs are a step behind the direction XML technologies are evolving: they don't support namespaces, and they use a non-XML syntax.
The most serious problem with DTDs is that they do not support namespaces, a critical flaw since namespaces are a very powerful aspect of XML.
A piece of program logic, however, needs an XML schema against which it can validate XML instances.
XML validation is a crucial part of predictable and efficient processing of XML instances.