Namespace prefixes in attribute declarations

John Cowan cowan at
Mon Feb 1 15:51:21 GMT 1999

Ronald Bourret wrote:

> <!ATTLIST a:my_element
>          a:my_attribute CDATA #IMPLIED>
> What does it mean and why is the prefix legal for the attribute?  DTDs have
> no way to declare global attributes [...]

Sure they do.  There's just no way to declare them once and for all:
the declaration must be repeated for every element, as here.

Remember that "global attribute" does not mean "universally applicable
attribute" but rather "attribute with (by convention) a universal

> The only thing I can think of is so global attributes can be declared in
> and validated against XML 1.0 DTDs by declaring them on each element.

Just so.  One might have a global attribute such as "iso4217:currency"
that is applicable only to a few attributes in a particular DTD,
those which represent money amounts.  But its meaning would be
universal: an ISO 4217 currency code.
John Cowan		cowan at
	You tollerday donsk?  N.  You tolkatiff scowegian?  Nn.
	You spigotty anglease?  Nnn.  You phonio saxo?  Nnnn.
		Clear all so!  'Tis a Jute.... (Finnegans Wake 16.5)

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