Comments, parsers, XPointers

David Megginson ak117 at
Wed May 20 21:52:20 BST 1998

John E. Simpson writes:

 > At 01:34 PM 1/1/80 -0500, you wrote:

 > >(comments have no purpose on the production/browsing side).

 > I was wondering about that. Specifically, I was wondering about a
 > "view source"-type feature in XML browsers, perhaps with a
 > show/hide comments toggle.  I've no experience with SGML, but I
 > (and a lot of -- most? -- other HTMLites) have frequently made use
 > of other developers' comments for learning purposes, outside the
 > context of formal training.

I can imagine as many as three "view" features for XML browsing beyond
the default formatted presentation:

1) View Source: see the raw, unparsed source of document entity,
   possibly with options for viewing the source of other entities.

2) View Logical Structure: see a tree control showing the element
   structure of the document, probably based on a DOM.

3) View Physical Structure: see a tree control showing the physical
   structure of the document, starting at the document entity; 'embed'
   XLinks might also be included here.  It should be possible to
   invoke "View Source" for any tree node.

For the first, there is no need to use an XML parser at all: just show
the original entity, comments, whitespace, and all.  

For the second, comments (and CDATA section boundaries s, etc.)  would
simply confuse the view by adding too many tree nodes -- I'd want them
filtered out even if the underlying DOM builder supported them.

For the third, I'd probably be interested only in external entities or

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at

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