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   Why must an XML document contain an element?

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  • From: Eric Baatz - Sun Microsystems Labs BOS <ebaatz@barbaresco.East.Sun.COM>
  • To: xml-dev@ic.ac.uk
  • Date: Tue, 6 May 1997 14:19:21 -0400 (EDT)

My application accepts plain text.  If its client wants it to do
a better job, it can markup the text using an XML syntax.

So, the client could want to send the application something like:

  This is plain text.
However, if the application is expecting XML markup, then it would
be nice if everything a client sent was an XML document.  So, for
the sake of clarity and consistency, I can force the client to send:

  <?XML version="1.0" encoding="UCS-2"?>
  This is plain text.
Well, that doesn't work, because that isn't a well-formed XML document
because it doesn't have an element, see:

  [23] document ::= Prolog element Misc*
So I could force the client to send:

  <?XML version="1.0" encoding="UCS-2"?>
  This is plain text.

where "foobar" is the client's choice of a lega name:

  [5] Name ::= (Letter | '_') (NameChar)*

But forcing the inclusion of characters that don't convey any
useful information to the application goes against my sense of

Why must an XML document include at least one element?

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