Simple DOM question

Eric Bohlman ebohlman at
Thu Aug 19 01:48:43 BST 1999

On Thu, 19 Aug 1999, Warren Hedley wrote:
> I'm trying to write a Java application where as many classes as
> possible only use the DOM API, and only a few use specific
> parsers. Anyway, say I read in something like
> <rootElement>
>   <link-childElement href="childElement.xml">
> </rootElement>
> and I then go and read "childElement.xml" and want to replace
> the <link-childElement> in the original DOM with the
> <childElement> I found in that file. A fairly common problem
> I'm sure.

Such a common problem that the solution to it is built into the definition
of XML itself (and XML inherited it from SGML).  Just declare the child
document as an entity in your internal DTD subset (<!ENTITY childElement
SYSTEM "childElement.xml">) and then reference it as %childElement;
instead of creating a special element type to represent inclusion.  That
way the parser will transparently perform the inclusion rather than
requiring the application logic to do it.

I've noticed in recent days a tendency for people to propose using XLink
or application-specific linking mechanisms to accomplish tasks that could
just as well be handled by the entity mechanism.  Let's not forget our

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