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Secure XML: The New Syntax for Signatures and Encryption by Kitty Niles, Donald E. Eastlake

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9.5. Formal Generative Specification

The formal description of XML canonicalization is to create an XPath node-set data model of the XML document or subset, as described in Section 9.4, and then generate the external XML representation according to the rules given in this section. This generative process starts at the root node and uses the UTF-8 character encoding. You can use any other processing that produces the same external sequence of octets in place of the specification provided here.

Note that the result is not guaranteed to be well-formed XML. For example, the XPath node-set could, in addition to the always-present root node, contain only text or only attribute nodes. Nevertheless, XML canonicalization is most commonly used with node-sets ...

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