Streams, protocols, documents and fragments was: RE: Documents and Document Fragments (Was RE: XML Information Set Requirements, W3C Note 18-February-1999)

James Tauber jtauber at
Tue Feb 23 02:23:19 GMT 1999

Mark Birbeck:
>The term 'document fragment' is not in XML 1.0, and my point was that we
>don't need new terminology - uberdocuments, document fragments, and so
>on - to understand these concepts. All you have said is that an XML
>document can have a prolog ... or not. If you give me a well-formed 'XML
>document' I have no way of knowing where that came from. It could be a
>standalone text file, or it could be a node from a larger XML document,
>but where it came from isn't going to help it; it will stand or fall on
>its own merit - i.e., is it well-formed? So why confuse things with all
>these different notions?

Jonathan argued by assertion that document fragments are well-formed
What if they are not?

If the original big document (no I'm not introducing a new term :-)) is in a
character encoding other than UTF-8 or UTF-16, the document fragment
achieved by plucking out a particular element is not a legal XML document.
It would need to have a prolog to specify the encoding or some other method
to declare the same.

Furthermore, if the element being plucked out contained entity references,
you would either need, again, to have a prolog to declare the entities, or
include the replacement text of the entities, or use some other method to
declare the entities.

Mark, what are your views on the W3C's activity on XML Fragments? Do I infer
correctly that you disagree with the need?


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