Introduction to XML in Flash
There is one more type of XML node that should
be mentioned. That element is a CDATA node.
A CDATA (standing for Character DATA) node is
a special node that looks somewhat like a cross
between an element and a text node, though,
it really exists as more of a resilient text
node. It has a type of opening and closing tag
but is meant to store body text inside the two.
This text can be multi-lined and contain just
about anything including those terror causing
characters which would otherwise have to be
replaced with character references in text nodes.
The following XML has a CDATA section:
Here is a bunch of text.
- And here is a little
more: <, >, &, " and ' with
- Expecting a third
line? Neither was I!]]>
The opening tag of a CDATA section is <![CDATA[.
Anything, and I mean anything, between that
and the closing ]]> is part of that section.
The only exception to this is another ]]>.
You can't necessarily have a ]]> in a CDATA
node because it would effectively close that
node. Everything else, no matter what it is,
between <![CDATA[ and ]]> is acceptable.
The idea is that anything within a CDATA section
is ignored by the XML parser, almost like a
comment in the XML (XML comments are like HTML
comments <!-- comment -->), but
something from which you can still extract information
CDATA is often used for body text because of
this (again, the only caveat here is that you
cannot have ]]> in a CDATA section - this
also prevents you from nesting CDATA sections
- so you may need to watch for this if you are
allowing others to dictate CDATA content). It's
also especially useful in keeping markup like
HTML or even other XML where replacing illegal
characters (namely < and >) with their
respective entity references causes an ugly
The thing is that Flash doesn't directly
provide much support for using them. There's
no problem with using them, it's just that Flash
will just treat them as normal text nodes. Any
illegal characters passed into Flash via a CDATA
section will be replaced with character references
and the CDATA node itself will be replaced with
a basic text node as a result. Don't worry,
however, since should you need either versions
(original or with character references) you
will be able to get both.