external parsed entites (was: A unique ID question ?)

David Brownell david-b at pacbell.net
Tue Nov 9 21:21:55 GMT 1999

> ... external parsed entities are evil ...

Bringing morality into it seems ... irrelevant, extremist.

So far the reasons I've heard offered against using such
entities (general entities, not parameter entities):

  - Some tools don't handle big documents, and
    such entities let you construct big documents.

  - Some developers misinterpret the storage issue
    (external entity) as a semantic issue (reusable).

  - Gotta watch out for ID usage, since validity
    then requires cross-file consistency.

Or in short, the tool can be misused, so ban the tool.  I'm
not convinced, nor am I likely to be.  Applied with consistency,
that makes banging rocks together to make fire become evil.

For anyone collecting real issues to pay attention to when
using external parsed entities, you should add using relative
URIs in those entities.  Not all tools expose base URIs in a
way that lets you resolve the relative URIs correctly.  SAX
does (given a Locator).

- Dave

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