Content v. attribute

david at david at
Tue Oct 27 14:20:04 GMT 1998

Don Park writes:

 > In other words, why not treat attributes as a specific type of
 > child element: unique and childless?

Actually, that might complicate processing far more than you think:

1. Attributes are inherently unordered and have no position relative
   to the element children; for any kind of iteration, you would have
   to provide fake positions for them and develop a rule to make those 
   positions consistent across different processors (if you're
   thinking of specifying that they be sorted in alphabetical order,
   remember the L10N issues).

2. Attributes are often meant to be ignored unless needed.  For
   example, if I have

   <!ATTLIST section
     html NMTOKEN #FIXED "div"
     id ID #REQUIRED
     security (public|confidential) "public"
     status (draft|released) "draft">

   and then

   <section id="foo">
   <title>Small Section</title>
   <para>This is a small section.</para>

   do I really want to have to iterate through 'html', 'id',
   'security', and 'status' as well as 'title' and 'para' as my

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at

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