Reliable endpoints for XML docs (and doclets)

Chris Maden crism at
Thu Mar 5 17:29:04 GMT 1998

[Tom Bannon]
> Perhaps I've missed something, but I don't see that the start and
> end points of XML documents are well defined, ie. something like
> <xml> and </xml>, akin to HTML's <html> and </html>.  As XML is
> rightly obsessed with the start and end of everything else, I find
> this mystifying.  How am I to embed XML in other data (such as HTML,
> but certainly not limited to it) without such markers (other than
> hacking my own)?  An important feature of such markers is that they
> can be located without having to be able to interpret any of the
> content between them.  Implicitly defining the beginning and end of
> an XML document as [bof] and [eof] appears shortsighted, if that is
> the case.  Can you set me straight on this?

The point of XML is that you can name your own element types.  A
required one would defeat the entire purpose.

An XML document may have exactly one root element that contains
everything else.  When the first element begins, the document instance
begins.  When that element ends, the document instance ends.

See clause 2.1 in the XML specification.

By the way, xml-dev is for developers of XML applications.  Questions
of this sort are probably more appropriate on XML-L.  Send mail to
listserv at with a body of "subscribe xml-l".

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