How to quote and encode XML attribute valuesFri, Oct 21, 2005 in Programming
Attribute values in XML are usually double-quoted, but single-quotes can be used as well, according to the relevant part of the XML Spec. Here is the production:
 AttValue ::= '"' ([^<&"] | Reference)* '"' | "'" ([^<&'] | Reference)* "'"
In plain English: an attribute consists of
- a double or single quote
- any number of the following:
- any character but <, & or “ OR
- an entity reference
- the same character that was used to begin the attribute (double or single quote)
What’s most interesting about this to me is that a < is forbidden inside attribute values, but a > is not. I always assumed both were illegal.
This is why I love reading specs. The XML spec is a great example of clear and terse writing. There is no chance for confusion when reading the productions themselves! Any secondary source can only obscure the matter, in my opinion.
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Baron is the founder and CEO of VividCortex. He is the author of High Performance MySQL and many open-source tools for performance analysis, monitoring, and system administration. Baron contributes to various database communities such as Oracle, PostgreSQL, Redis and MongoDB.