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Subject: Re: Data Islands Standard? (Was RE: Recommended Books?)
From: Mark Birbeck <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:General discussion of Extensible Markup Language <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 28 Aug 1999 17:36:43 +0100
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Murray Altheim wrote:
> Unfortunately, Data Islands are in violation of the XML
> specification in a number of ways. One of the most obvious is
> the use of an <XML> element to delimit
> the island. This is not legal XML, witness (given that element type
> names are XML Names, production 5):
>
> from XML 1.0 Recommendation [XML]:
> :   2.3 Common Syntactic Constructs
> :
> :   A Name is a token beginning with a letter or one of a few
> :   punctuation characters, and continuing with letters, digits,
> :   hyphens, underscores, colons, or full stops, together known
> :   as name characters. Names beginning with the string "xml", or
> :   any string which would match (('X'|'x') ('M'|'m') ('L'|'l')),
> :   are reserved for standardization in this or future versions
> :   of this specification.
>
> It's illegal to create an element type or attribute name beginning
> with 'XML' (or any upper- or lowercase variation of same). Compliant
> XML parsers should emit an error and halt parsing upon locating this
> tag.

But at the initial stage of the process the document is being processed
by an HTML parser, not an XML one. The document just happens to contain
an XML document. The 'XML' tag is part of the HTML document not the XML
one. It's no different to getting a document to load an image or sound
file after it has loaded completely. The image or sound file must be
validated by their own processors, and if they fail it does not
invalidate the containing HTML document.

> Now my understanding is that Data Islands use <XML> as
> the document element of the fragment, so a document using
> Microsoft Data Islands conforms to neither any HTML spec
> nor does its fragment of markup conform as a chunk of well-formed XML.

The XML document is *contained* by the tag <XML>, which is not itself
part of the document. You could say it was a bad choice of tag, it's not
part of HTML, or whatever, but it does NOT violate XML. However, it WILL
violate XML when IE understands XHTML, because then it will first have
to parse the document *as XML* before then processing it as HTML. But
no-one does that yet, and then they would need to add a different
namespace for the data anyway, in the way you mention for mathematical
mark-up, etc. (Note also that neither the XHTML or XML 1.0 specs rule
out the fact that the very tag that might delineate 'general XML within
an XHTML document' might end up beginning with the characters 'XML' - it
is reserved after all!)

Regards,

Mark

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