Conformance in XML processors

David Megginson ak117 at
Mon Jan 19 14:01:50 GMT 1998

James Clark writes:

 > > I think that James would have to add "processing external text
 > > entities" to that list, since the PR labels them as "included if
 > > validating," implying that non-validating parsers need not include
 > > them.
 > Yes, you're right: the PR doesn't appear to require this. I am a bit
 > surprised.  I thought at one stage the spec said that the parser had to
 > be able to do this if requested by the application/user, and I would
 > expect this capability of any general purpose XML processor.

This is really part of a broader issue.  There is a set of XML
features -- external text entities, NDATA entities, notations, and
ID/IDREF -- that are absolutely basic for typical SGML documents.
When people suggest that these are 'advanced' features in XML, then
one of the following two statements must apply:

1) they expect that XML documents will not typically include internal
   cross-references; that they will not include graphics, sound,
   video, or other non-XML material; and that they will consist of
   only a single physical file; or

2) they believe that ID/IDREF, NDATA entities, notations, and external
   text entities are overly-complicated SGML relics left in to satisfy
   a few pedants on the WG, and that XML and XLL provide other, simpler
   mechanisms with the same functionality.

Clarification from the WG would be helpful here.

All the best,


David Megginson                 ak117 at
Microstar Software Ltd.         dmeggins at

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