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Copyright © 2008 The Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a subset of SGML that is completely described in this document.Its goal is to enable generic SGML to be served, received, and processed on the Web in the way that is now possible with HTML.
This section describes the status of this document at the time of its publication. A list of current W3C publications and the latest revision of this technical report can be found in the W3C technical reports index at
The errata list for this fifth edition is available at A Test Suite is maintained to help assessing conformance to this specification.
This document has been reviewed by W3C Members, by software developers, and by other W3C groups and interested parties, and is endorsed by the Director as a W3C Recommendation.
characters with both precomposed and base diacritic forms) match only if they have the same representation in both strings. (Of strings and rules in the grammar:) A string matches a grammatical production if it belongs to the language generated by that production.
(Of content and content models:) An element matches its declaration when it conforms in the fashion described in the constraint [VC: Element Valid].] [Definition: Marks a sentence describing a non-binding recommendation included to increase the chances that XML documents can be processed by the existing installed base of SGML processors which predate the Web SGML Adaptations Annex to ISO 8879.] [Definition: A data object is an XML document if it is well-formed, as defined in this specification.
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1 Introduction 1.1 Origin and Goals 1.2 Terminology 2 Documents 2.1 Well-Formed XML Documents 2.2 Characters 2.3 Common Syntactic Constructs 2.4 Character Data and Markup 2.5 Comments 2.6 Processing Instructions 2.7 CDATA Sections 2.8 Prolog and Document Type Declaration 2.9 Standalone Document Declaration 2.10 White Space Handling 2.11 End-of-Line Handling 2.12 Language Identification 3 Logical Structures 3.1 Start-Tags, End-Tags, and Empty-Element Tags 3.2 Element Type Declarations 3.2.1 Element Content 3.2.2 Mixed Content 3.3 Attribute-List Declarations 3.3.1 Attribute Types 3.3.2 Attribute Defaults 3.3.3 Attribute-Value Normalization 3.4 Conditional Sections 4 Physical Structures 4.1 Character and Entity References 4.2 Entity Declarations 4.2.1 Internal Entities 4.2.2 External Entities 4.3 Parsed Entities 4.3.1 The Text Declaration 4.3.2 Well-Formed Parsed Entities 4.3.3 Character Encoding in Entities 4.4 XML Processor Treatment of Entities and References 4.4.1 Not Recognized 4.4.2 Included 4.4.3 Included If Validating 4.4.4 Forbidden 4.4.5 Included in Literal 4.4.6 Notify 4.4.7 Bypassed 4.4.8 Included as PE 4.4.9 Error 4.5 Construction of Entity Replacement Text 4.6 Predefined Entities 4.7 Notation Declarations 4.8 Document Entity 5 Conformance 5.1 Validating and Non-Validating Processors 5.2 Using XML Processors 6 Notation A References A.1 Normative References A.2 Other References B Character Classes C XML and SGML (Non-Normative) D Expansion of Entity and Character References (Non-Normative) E Deterministic Content Models (Non-Normative) F Autodetection of Character Encodings (Non-Normative) F.1 Detection Without External Encoding Information F.2 Priorities in the Presence of External Encoding Information G W3C XML Working Group (Non-Normative) H W3C XML Core Working Group (Non-Normative) I Production Notes (Non-Normative) J Suggestions for XML Names (Non-Normative) Extensible Markup Language, abbreviated XML, describes a class of data objects called XML documents and partially describes the behavior of computer programs which process them.
[Definition: A software module called an XML processor is used to read XML documents and provide access to their content and structure.] [Definition: It is assumed that an XML processor is doing its work on behalf of another module, called the application.] This specification describes the required behavior of an XML processor in terms of how it must read XML data and the information it must provide to the application.
XML was developed by an XML Working Group (originally known as the SGML Editorial Review Board) formed under the auspices of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in 1996.
XML is an application profile or restricted form of SGML, the Standard Generalized Markup Language [ISO 8879].
By construction, XML documents are conforming SGML documents.
Please refer to the errata for this document, which may include some normative corrections.