A "well-formed" XML document is defined as an XML document that has correct XML syntax. According to W3C, this means:

  • XML documents must have a root element
  • XML elements must have a closing tag
  • XML tags are case sensitive
  • XML elements must be properly nested
  • XML attribute values must always be quoted

This should not be confused with a valid XML document, which is defined as a "well-formed" XML document which also conforms to the rules of a Document Type Definition (DTD) or an XML Schema (XSD), which W3C supports as an alternate to DTD.

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