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one fairly simple way to view the matter of attributes and content is
that xml is a means to encode annotated hypergraphs. each element is a
node which is the origin for a single multi-destination link to the
respective children. the attributes are annotations on this
the generic identifier can be seen as either a label on the node or as
an additional annotation.
the annotations could, in general, be graphs, but attributes do not
take direct advantage of that potential. they do, however, support
references which permit one to encode such annotations.
On Tuesday, November 11, 2003, at 06:01 AM, Ramkumar Menon wrote:
> I appologize if this is the wrong place to send this question.
> My question is:
> What was the fundamental motivation for having attributes in an XML
> Document ? Whatever that can be contained in an attribute of an
> element can be contained within a sub element. If I model an XML
> Document as a Java object, would I need to distinguish between the
> elements and attributes ? Moreover, why was it decided that attributes
> can only be of a simple type ?