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why is there a "?" in the beginning of an xml document

Joe May
Greenhorn

Joined: Sep 28, 2009
Posts: 22
Hi,

Was just wondering.. is there any logical reason for the "?" at the beginning of an xml document?

<?xml version="1.0 encoding="some_encoding">

Thanks
William Brogden
Author and all-around good cowpoke
Rancher

Joined: Mar 22, 2000
Posts: 12806
    
    5
That is the format required by the standard. One function is to tell the parser that the < does not start a normal tag.

See also the use of special characters in the format for comments and DOCTYPE declarations.

Bill
g tsuji
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 18, 2011
Posts: 535
    
    3
Read carefully: <? opening tag, ?> closing tag. The simple line contains already two mistakes (another is version, a genuine typo, possibly).
 
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
 
subject: why is there a "?" in the beginning of an xml document