Michael Kay M.H.Kay at
Tue Dec 16 17:00:28 GMT 1997

-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Prescod <papresco at>
To: xml-dev at <xml-dev at>
Date: 16 December 1997 16:30
Subject: Re: CharData

>Chris Maden wrote:
>> You are correct; ']]>' is forbidden in element content, as it should
>> be.  >
>The reason for this is not just SGML compatibility, it is robustness. A
>floating MDC is almost certainly an error in the document. 

I don't think you're being particularly user-friendly here. The most
likely reason for a floating "]]>" is that the software-writer was
lazy and forgot to escape it.

If we assume that most XML will be software-generated, then it
appears the only purpose of CDATA is to allow the software-writer
to copy in a chunk of text without bothering to convert the <'s and
&'s to &lt and &amp. But since he still has to check for any "]]>"
in the text, and has no clear course of action if he finds one,
it's not at all clear that it achieves this aim. As one who is 
currently writing software to generate XML, I have no intention 
of deliberately generating CDATA, and the need to avoid 
doing so by mistake is a complication I could do without. 
In practice I will just get round it by escaping all my >'s 
as well as my <'s.

Mike Kay, ICL

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