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Subject: RE: [] or ? for optional

I instantly associate [] with optionality, but only because I use
unix-like operating systems, and all of the command line programs use []
for optionality in their --help or manpage.

Given what I perceive to be the audience of this spec, I think it will
wash.  Furthermore, why not have a "conventions" section in the spec
explaining it for those who don't get it?


Matthew MacKenzie
XML Global

-----Original Message-----
From:	James Clark
Sent:	Mon 7/9/2001 7:53 PM
To:	Murata Makoto; relax-ng@lists.oasis-open.org
Subject:	[] or ? for optional

--On 10 July 2001 09:38 +0900 Murata Makoto <mura034@attglobal.net>

> James Clark wrote:
>> > - Isn't the type attribute optional for <value>?
>> Yes.  There's a "?" following the attribute value that is intended to
>> indicate this. Is there some way I should fix the notation to make
>> clearer?
> Sorry, I looked over the "?".
> I prefer "[" and "]" probably in a big font.

That would be more visually obvious, but I wonder how familiar the use
[] for optionality would be to our potential audience. Let's do a little


If you read this, please send a message to the list saying whether you
familiar with the use of [] for optionality and would guess that the
brackets in

<value [type="NCName"]>string</value>

indicate that the attribute is optional.

Alternatively we could try to make it harder to miss the ? by adding 

<value (type="NCName")?>string</value>


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