The Peace Process: DOM and namespaces...

David Megginson david at
Wed Feb 10 23:00:30 GMT 1999

Tyler Baker writes:

 > Then the document is illegal.  

How?  The DOM view of the document does not affect the document itself.

 > Namespaces can essentially be any set of characters you want.  When
 > you replace the prefix with a namespace, you are creating an
 > illegal XML Name as you already stated.  Should the DOM reflect a
 > legal XML document or should the DOM allow anything you want to
 > serve as element and attribute names.

The physical representation of an XML document (as defined by XML 1.0)
is not allowed to have characters like '/' and '@' in element and
attribute name, but the DOM is not a physical representation; it is an
API providing access to one view of a document's information set, and
as such, it is not governed by the Name production in XML 1.0.

There is currently *no* complete specification governing an XML
document's information set: it would be quite conformant (though
silly) for the DOM to swap uppercase and lower-case in names, to
precede every name with "go away or I will taunt you a second time:",
to randomly rename elements to "Bob", or just about anything else.

The XML 1.0 spec does not even require processors to report element
names, so in terms of conformance, anything goes kids.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at

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