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XML DTD

DTD Introduction DTD Building Blocks DTD Elements DTD Attributes DTD Elements vs Attr DTD Entities DTD Examples

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DTD - Elements


In a DTD, elements are declared with an ELEMENT declaration.


Declaring Elements

In a DTD, XML elements are declared with the following syntax:

<!ELEMENT element-name category>
or
<!ELEMENT element-name (element-content)>

Empty Elements

Empty elements are declared with the category keyword EMPTY:

<!ELEMENT element-name EMPTY>

Example:

<!ELEMENT br EMPTY>

XML example:

<br />

Elements with Parsed Character Data

Elements with only parsed character data are declared with #PCDATA inside parentheses:

<!ELEMENT element-name (#PCDATA)>

Example:

<!ELEMENT from (#PCDATA)>

Elements with any Contents

Elements declared with the category keyword ANY, can contain any combination of parsable data:

<!ELEMENT element-name ANY>

Example:

<!ELEMENT note ANY>

Elements with Children (sequences)

Elements with one or more children are declared with the name of the children elements inside parentheses:

<!ELEMENT element-name (child1)>
or
<!ELEMENT element-name (child1,child2,...)>

Example:

<!ELEMENT note (to,from,heading,body)>

When children are declared in a sequence separated by commas, the children must appear in the same sequence in the document. In a full declaration, the children must also be declared, and the children can also have children. The full declaration of the "note" element is:

<!ELEMENT note (to,from,heading,body)>
<!ELEMENT to (#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT from (#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT heading (#PCDATA)>
<!ELEMENT body (#PCDATA)>

Declaring Only One Occurrence of an Element

<!ELEMENT element-name (child-name)>

Example:

<!ELEMENT note (message)>

The example above declares that the child element "message" must occur once, and only once inside the "note" element.


Declaring Minimum One Occurrence of an Element

<!ELEMENT element-name (child-name+)>

Example:

<!ELEMENT note (message+)>

The + sign in the example above declares that the child element "message" must occur one or more times inside the "note" element.


Declaring Zero or More Occurrences of an Element

<!ELEMENT element-name (child-name*)>

Example:

<!ELEMENT note (message*)>

The * sign in the example above declares that the child element "message" can occur zero or more times inside the "note" element.


Declaring Zero or One Occurrences of an Element 

<!ELEMENT element-name (child-name?)>

Example:

<!ELEMENT note (message?)>

The ? sign in the example above declares that the child element "message" can occur zero or one time inside the "note" element.


Declaring either/or Content

<!ELEMENT note (to,from,header,(message|body))>

The example above declares that the "note" element must contain a "to" element, a "from" element, a "header" element, and either a "message" or a "body" element.


Declaring Mixed Content

<!ELEMENT note (#PCDATA|to|from|header|message)*>

The example above declares that the "note" element can contain zero or more occurrences of parsed character data, "to", "from", "header", or "message" elements.