Dates in XML

Michael Kay M.H.Kay at
Thu Jul 9 13:13:25 BST 1998

> - it breaks the contract (implicit, I think, in both HTML
and XML) that
> the text of the document is represented by the content of
its elements

In a strict sense yes. (XML actually says "All text that is
not markup constitutes the character data of the document").
But I don't read that as saying information should be held
in its final presentation form: quite the contrary. The
whole aim is to move as far as possible towards representing
the abstract information content rather than the visible
image of the document. Therefore, dates should be held in a
canonical form.

And of course it matters not one whit whether they are held
as attributes or element content, any self-respecting XML
processor should be able to handle either. (Though I have
discovered one great advantage of using attributes is that a
SAX parser can't split them up for you - I've written lots
of buggy applications by forgetting that element content can
be split, however short it is).

Mike Kay

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