Empty elements

Jani Jaakkola jjaakkol at cs.Helsinki.FI
Thu Feb 12 13:06:10 GMT 1998

On Wed, 11 Feb 1998, Don Park wrote:

> Geir,
> >While working on implementations using SAX I've noticed that there is no
> >way to know if an element is an empty element or not (e.g <Para/>). This
> >could perhaps be done using some kind of lookahead, but should that be
> >necessary?
> Are you unable to process the element in endElement() callback?  Typical
> DocumentHandler implementation must keep track of current element so all you
> have to inside endElement() is check to see the current element has no
> children and no attributes.

Yes, but in SGML and XML element type which has been declared empty
in the DTD and therefore is marked with <Para/> tag in XML
is different thing from element which just happens to be
empty (e.g <para></para>).

In SP:s generic interface StartElementEvent events have
ContentType property which can have value empty. Without this
property it would be impossible to produce valid SGML-instance
using the event stream because element types which are declared
empty are marked up differently from element types which just
happen to be empty sometimes.

I'd say that an parser API which does not provide information
about empty declared elements is broken and should be fixed.
(i haven't looked at SAX:s API though)

- Jani

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