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XSD Empty Elements


An empty complex element cannot have contents, only attributes.


Complex Empty Elements

An empty XML element:

<product prodid="1345" />

The "product" element above has no content at all. To define a type with no content, we must define a type that allows elements in its content, but we do not actually declare any elements, like this:

<xs:element name="product">
  <xs:complexType>
    <xs:complexContent>
      <xs:restriction base="xs:integer">
        <xs:attribute name="prodid" type="xs:positiveInteger"/>
      </xs:restriction>
    </xs:complexContent>
  </xs:complexType>
</xs:element>

In the example above, we define a complex type with a complex content. The complexContent element signals that we intend to restrict or extend the content model of a complex type, and the restriction of integer declares one attribute but does not introduce any element content.

However, it is possible to declare the "product" element more compactly, like this:

<xs:element name="product">
  <xs:complexType>
    <xs:attribute name="prodid" type="xs:positiveInteger"/>
  </xs:complexType>
</xs:element>

Or you can give the complexType element a name, and let the "product" element have a type attribute that refers to the name of the complexType (if you use this method, several elements can refer to the same complex type):

<xs:element name="product" type="prodtype"/>

<xs:complexType name="prodtype">
  <xs:attribute name="prodid" type="xs:positiveInteger"/>
</xs:complexType>


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