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   RE: White Space

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  • From: David Megginson <david@megginson.com>
  • To: <xml-dev@ic.ac.uk>
  • Date: Mon, 16 Aug 1999 17:59:52 -0400 (EDT)

arkin writes:

 [on XML 1.0 reporting requirements for whitespace in element content]

 > > What's not clear here? -Tim
 > 1. How does that relate to the spaces attribute and to the
 > default/preserve values?

It has nothing to do with it.

 > 2. How does that relate to new line in the beginning/end of text
 > content?

It has nothing to do with it.

 > 3. What is the application and what is an XML processor? Is it possible
 > that a generic XML "parser" generating SAX/DOM can be both processor and
 > application?

XML doesn't have any official processing model, so we have to try to
interoperate nicely in a less formal framework.

 > 4. Many applications do not care about whitespace, they only care about
 > the meaningful content. And many developers do not have the expertise to
 > strip away whitespaces properly. Is there anything we can do about it?

Yes -- create (or use) filters.  If high-level packages like SAXON
don't already have filters that do this kind of thing, then they will
soon.  There are two important points to note, however:

1. Whitespace stripping should never surprise an application -- it
   should happen only if the application explicitly requests it, or if 
   the application's design itself requires it (as in the case of an
   HTML browser).

2. There are *many* ways to normalize whitespace, so it's not a matter 
   simply of adding one method call somewhere.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david@megginson.com

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