Embedding Content as Element Content or As An Attribute Value

Marcus Carr mrc at allette.com.au
Thu Jan 8 21:47:29 GMT 1998

Tyler Baker wrote:

> I would think that in these cases an "author" tag should embed its content as
> follows <author>Mr John Smith</author>, rather than how Microsoft CDF embeds
> its content which is <author VALUE="Mr John Smith"/>.
> Is this simply just a design preference, or else is there a concrete reason why
> what seemingly is content should be embedded as an attribute.

I regard that as design preference. An attribute obtained from a list of valid
tokens will provide some semantic control over the contents, but in the case of
"author" this would be unlikely as the maintenance on the DTD would probably be

If you're interested in more information about philosophical approaches to
design, I would be inclined to check out some of the SGML publications. I don't
believe the statement "SGML people have longer been involved with design, whereas
XML-dev people are more involved with data use and applications" will be deemed
inflammatory. Just keep in mind the differences between SGML and XML, the
particular vagaries of the author, the nature of the examples being discussed and
then toss it all and go with your instincts. That seems to be the prevailing
scientific approach.


Marcus Carr                  email:  mrc at allette.com.au
Allette Systems (Australia)  email:  info at allette.com.au
Level 10, 91 York Street     www:    http://www.allette.com.au
Sydney 2000 NSW Australia    phone:  +61 2 9262 4777
                             fax:    +61 2 9262 4774

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