Parameter entities - inconsistency in standard?

Richard Tobin richard at
Tue Aug 25 16:50:12 BST 1998

In responding to Peter Jones's question about undeclared entities, I
noticed what appears to be an inconsistency in the standard.

Section 4.4.8 says that parameter entities need only be "included if
validating".  Note that it doesn't limit this to external PEs.

The well-formedness constraint [WFC: Entity Declared] on production 68
is consistent with this:

 In a document without any DTD, a document with only an internal DTD
 subset which contains no parameter entity references, or a document
 with "standalone='yes'", the Name given in the entity reference must
 match that in an entity declaration [...]

But the corresponding validity constraint [VC: Entity Declared] says:

 In a document with an external subset or external parameter entities
 with "standalone='no'" [...]

If it's really intended that non-validating processors need not expand
references to internal PEs, then "external parameter entities" should
be changed to "parameter entities".

As it stands, it appears that it is both well-formed and valid for
entities not to be declared in documents with standalone="no" that
contain internal PE references but no external ones!

-- Richard

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