Reliable endpoints for XML docs (and doclets)

Chris Maden crism at
Thu Mar 5 18:48:27 GMT 1998

[Tom Bannon]
> My take is that XML offers a method of structured description.
> Required pieces would not damage such a goal, aesthetically
> unpleasing as they might be.  Besides, well defined beginnings and
> ends are aesthetically pleasing.

What's poorly defined about <foo>...</foo>?  The first <thing> you
find starts the document.  The matching </thing> ends it.

> Well, then by XML definition, XML documents are un-embeddedable, as
> the start of an XML document cannot be programmatically determined
> in the general case (as <?XML ... ?> and <!DOCTYPE ...> are
> optional, and the name of the root element is arbitrary).
> Thus to embed, one would have to define their own start and end
> markers.  This can certainly be done, but it seems a much better
> idea to have this be part of the XML definition so that it can be
> done in a standard way.

Having <xml>...</xml> would *prohibit* embedding, as I'd have to strip
the <xml> element tags in order to embed within another <xml>.
Without predetermined tags, I can have a document whose root element
is <chapter>, and then write another document whose root element is
<book>, and embed those <chapter>s within the <book> with no changes.

The point here is that the boundaries of the document per se aren't
really interesting.  The boundaries of elements are.  The document
element may be mildly more interesting than other elements, but not so
much so as to warrant markedly different treatment.  Moreover, since
it's trivial to find the boundaries of the document element, why add

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"<URL> <TEL>+1.617.499.7487
<USMAIL>90 Sherman Street, Cambridge, MA 02140 USA" NDATA SGML.Geek>

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