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   RE: [xml-dev] Optional elements and restrictions

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I am hearing that it is best practice to allow both scenarios – the “empty element” and the “omitted element” – in documents that are provided.  



I don't think there is any consensus on this.


My own preference is to model absent or not-applicable data by omitting the relevant element or attribute, using elements/attributes that exist but have an empty string as their value only for cases where this has some real meaning.


There is of course a third way to represent absent information, namely to use the xsi:nil attribute, but I've never met anyone who thinks that is a good idea.


Michael Kay



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