SAX and whitespace (was Re: Problems with whitespace and msxml)

David Megginson ak117 at
Thu Jan 1 15:01:23 GMT 1998

 > >   An XML processor must always pass all characters in a document
 > >   that are not markup through to the application. A validating
 > >   XML processor must distinguish white space in element content
 > >   from other non-markup

What the PR means to say here is that a DTD-driven XML parser has to
treat whitespace in element content differently than whitespace in
mixed content -- this, of course, has nothing to do with xml:space.
If there is no DTD, then all element types are assumed to allow mixed
content, so a DTD-driven XML parser ("validating XML processor") would
report all whitespace as significant.

What should SAX do with ignorable whitespace?

1) Report it as a distinct event, like Ælfred does?
2) Treat it as regular character data?
3) Ignore it (as in regular SGML)?

(1) seems to be what the PR requires.  Either (2) or (3) could cause
strange results.

All the best,


David Megginson                 ak117 at
Microstar Software Ltd.         dmeggins at

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