CDATA Section [binary data in...]

Gordon, Simon Simon.Gordon at
Fri Oct 29 18:39:32 BST 1999

-----Original Message-----
From: Ken Gentle [mailto:j.kenneth.gentle at]
Sent: Wednesday, October 27, 1999 12:04
To: xml-dev at
Subject: Re: CDATA Section [binary data in...]

>>At 11:33 AM 10/27/99 -0600, you wrote:
>>Remember the XML 1.0 definition: CDATA sections are "used to escape blocks
>>of text containing characters which would otherwise be recognized as
>>markup".  Nothing about this implies including XML-illegal characters.
>>Re Tim Bray's "CDATA Sections and Binary Data" note:
>>I've never read this to state that you can put _raw_ binary data in a
>>section.  The phrase "When you look at CDATA, you might get the impression
>>that you could maybe jam your binary data in a CDATA section. You'd be
>>right, but..." may be a little misleading, but do remember that these are
>>just explanatory notes that can never be taken to contradict the XML 1.0
>>spec itself!
>>Yes, base64 is a good method of cramming binary data into a CDATA section,
>>just be certain that a "]]" can't appear in the encoded data.
>Can't happen in base64 -- neither "]" nor ">" are legal characters.
>This is precisely how our application is embedding "binary" data in XML
>documents:  Base64 transfer encoding in a CDATA section.

As Tim says in his annotation, if you use Base64 then you don't need the
CDATA section as _none_ of the XML reserved chars appear in the Base64
character set (A-Za-z0-9/+).
>	Ken
>> Nik O, Teton Data Systems, Jackson, Wyo.


Simon Gordon
Systems Engineer,
Systems Integration,

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