Documents and Document Fragments

Mark Birbeck Mark.Birbeck at
Wed Feb 24 15:29:16 GMT 1999

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Nathan Kurz [SMTP:nate at]
> Sent:	Tuesday, February 23, 1999 11:13 PM
> To:	xml-dev at
> Subject:	RE: Documents and Document Fragments
> Mark Birbeck wrote:
> > It's also relevant to document fragments. In previous posts, I was
> > trying to say that as far as a parser is concerned, whether it
> receives
> > a complete XML document by retrieving a file from a disk, a page
> from a
> > web server, or four nodes from an object database is neither here
> nor
> > there. As far as it is concerned, it has an 'XML document'. I called
> > this a 'logical' document because I wanted to indicate that it may
> not
> > actually exist in any physical form, but it is a
> > 'data-object-that-conforms' item, and that if we can process an 'XML
> > document' we can process one node, many nodes or the whole tree. You
> > don't then need to devise another system to process well-formed
> > 'uberdocuments', and yet another to process well-formed 'document
> > fragments' or 'microdocuments' or whatever.
> Although it may reflect the state of existing parsers, I disagree with
> this assessment of how XML parsers must relate to 'XML documents' and
> 'document fragments'.  It seems like it has things backwards.  You
> imply that if a parser is able to process a collection of nodes in one
> particular form, that it is able to process a collection of nodes in
> any arrangement whatsoever.  Perhaps, but not necessarily.
	I think that 'document fragment' *is* a useful term once you are
'inside' the parser. In other words, when you get to the point where you
are processing the physical XML document and want to discuss aspects of
this it is helpful to draw a distinction between the entire document and
pieces of it.

	I don't think it helps though in the prior process of delivery
of information to the parser. As far as I can see in XML 1.0, you can
only deliver a well-formed document to a parser. And even if you have a
database of lots of nodes that you combine to make into XML documents,
you've still presented 'complete' documents to the parser, not
'fragments' or 'microdocuments'.

	In all my comments, my objection is always the seeming
willingness of everyone to introduce extra terminology to supposedly
'clarify', when it is unnecessary, and often confuses.



xml-dev: A list for W3C XML Developers. To post, mailto:xml-dev at
Archived as: and on CD-ROM/ISBN 981-02-3594-1
To (un)subscribe, mailto:majordomo at the following message;
(un)subscribe xml-dev
To subscribe to the digests, mailto:majordomo at the following message;
subscribe xml-dev-digest
List coordinator, Henry Rzepa (mailto:rzepa at

More information about the Xml-dev mailing list