Content v. attribute

Joe Lapp jlapp at
Mon Oct 26 16:33:37 GMT 1998

At 08:02 AM 10/26/98 -0800, Dave Winer wrote:
>[..] When I design XML forms
>for our own internal applications, I have generally found that if I use
>attributes, I end up regretting it and switch over to straight tag
>hierarchy. [...]

So it has been with our document types, and in particular WIDL.  Many
values that were once attributes are now content in child elements.  We
tend to put values in content when the values might evolve over time or
when they are open ended.  We still use attributes though because they are
more concise and we like to keep our documents as human-readable as possible.

Even now we are contemplating moving still more attribute values to child
elements.  We don't want a proliferation of versions of our document types,
so in the future you can bet that we'll be putting values in content far
more often than we'll be putting them in attributes.

Maybe this is a good rule of thumb: attributes for quick hacks, content for
Joe Lapp, Senior Engineer | jlapp at
webMethods, Inc.          | Voice: 703-267-1726 |   Fax: 703-352-0370

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