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proposal: encoding/xml: Allow alternative Decoder.AutoClose behavior #19506

aclindsa opened this Issue Mar 11, 2017 · 3 comments


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aclindsa commented Mar 11, 2017

Please answer these questions before submitting your issue. Thanks!

What version of Go are you using (go version)?

go version go1.7.5 linux/amd64

What operating system and processor architecture are you using (go env)?

GOGCCFLAGS="-fPIC -m64 -pthread -fmessage-length=0 -fdebug-prefix-map=/tmp/go-build155808714=/tmp/go-build -gno-record-gcc-switches"

What did you do?

This is a feature request, not a bug report. I attempted to unmarshal/decode invalid xml while using Strict=false and the list of 'AutoClose'ing tags. Here's an example:

What did you expect to see?

I initially expected for 'autoclosed' tags to contain the CharData immediately following the opening tag.

What did you see instead?

Instead, autoclosed tags were closed immediately, even before character data immediately following them.

I understand that in the case of malformed XML, it is ambiguous how it can/should be fixed up so there's no general way to know exactly what should be done. In some cases, however, you know that certain elements always expect to contain character data and it can be safely assumed that they should only be autoclosed after consuming it. I would like to request an analogue to Decoder.AutoClose (I'll call it AutoCloseAfterChardata for lack of a better name) which behaves identically to Decoder.AutoClose, except that it never closes the element on the top of the tag stack if the current token being considered is CharData.

@bradfitz bradfitz changed the title encoding/xml: Allow alternative Decoder.AutoClose behavior proposal: encoding/xml: Allow alternative Decoder.AutoClose behavior Mar 21, 2017

@gopherbot gopherbot added this to the Proposal milestone Mar 21, 2017

@gopherbot gopherbot added the Proposal label Mar 21, 2017


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rsc commented Mar 27, 2017

I think 'Strict=false' is basically frozen. This was added to parse HTML as a kludge before we had an HTML parser. Now we do have an HTML parser (in x/net/html), so for HTML you should use that. Otherwise real XML should have its closing tags included properly.

@rsc rsc closed this Mar 27, 2017


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aclindsa commented Mar 27, 2017

@rsc My use case is that I have some SGML (I know, I know) I need to parse which is neither valid XML nor HTML. Unfortunately 'use valid XML' isn't an option for me since I'm implementing the OFX specification (, and many banks still use the older SGML version of the spec.

Do you have a suggestion for how best to parse this SGML (or is implementing this functionality myself and maintaining a fork of the encoding/xml package myself my best bet)?


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rsc commented Mar 29, 2017

The right way forward is for you to make a copy of encoding/xml and adjust the non-strict mode to your liking. It shouldn't be hard, it just doesn't need to go back into the standard library.

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