SUMMARY: XML Validation Issues (was: several threads)

Rick Jelliffe ricko at
Thu Apr 8 19:22:17 BST 1999

From: Tim Bray <tbray at>

> ..but I think there are 2 separate questions here:
> - should a document be able to ask for validation
> - should a document be able to ask for guaranteed reading of all
>   external entities

I think these questions in turn boil down to that the XML spec's section
2.9 "Standalone Document Declarations" says that it is a "validity
constraint" if standalone="no" and the markup declarations contain
certain kinds of data, but instead it should be a kind of
"well-formedness constraint"!

This in practise would create three classes of processors:

1) XML parsers which cannot accept documents which have
standalone="yes" and which have markup declarations in the internal
prolog (the URI on the DOCTYPE declaration reliably names the document

2) XML parsers which only accept documents which are standalone="yes",
whether it then validates content models or not;

3) XML parsers which accept standalone="yes" or "no", whether it then
validates or not.

In other words, if standalone="no", then a parser must read all the
external entities and handle the particular markup declarations; if it
cannot, it should spit the Draconian dummy. This does not mean it has to
validate against content models, however.

If standalone="yes", then a parser should read the internal markup
declarations and use them (for the particular cases mentioned: to get
default attribute values, to get entity values).

Tim's comment in his annotations presages this approach. If people are
finding this a big problem, can XML be tightened up ASAP to correct it?

Rick Jelliffe

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