SAX: NDATA Entities

Paul Prescod papresco at
Mon Jan 5 12:04:29 GMT 1998

David Megginson wrote:
> Your question raises another problem, however.  In the case of a
> NOTATION attribute, SAX will report the notation name as the attribute
> value, but will not indicate that it is, in fact, a notation; in the
> case of an ENTITY attribute, no information will be available through
> SAX directly beyond the entity name.  In other words, as proposed so
> far, SAX has no provision for useful processing of NDATA entities,
> since there is no way to determine the system ID of an entity, the
> notation associated with an NDATA entity, or the system ID of a
> notation.
> Ælfred provides and will continue to provide this information outside
> of the SAX interface -- is there a strong case for making it part of
> SAX (in the XmlParser interface) or do we expect simple applications
> to stick with URIs for external addressing and non-XML objects?

I suspect that SAX will strongly influence convention in this area. I do
not believe that SAX should undermine the intention of the XML spec. by
making this information unavailable. If XML's creators hadn't wanted
NDATA entities to be useful, they wouldn't have created them. I don't
think that this is the right time or place to rethink that decision.

To put it another way: SAX should simplify access to XML data. It should
not simplify XML by doing away with information necessary to take
advantage of basic XML features. When I am designing my XML information
system I don't want to have to change my documents to work around
arbitrary limitations in my parser. That's what XML was supposed to

 Paul Prescod

Art is always at peril in universities, where there are so many people, 
young and old, who love art less than argument, and dote upon a text 
that provides the nutritious pemmican on which scholars love to chew. 
				-- Robertson Davies in "The Cunning Man"

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