# Understanding XML

Gold Member

## Main Question or Discussion Point

What's the design difference between elements and attributes? What I'm asking is: what makes you decide that something should be an element versus an attribute?

Code:
<pet>
<name>Spike</name>
</pet>
i.e: which is better?
Code:
<pet name="Spike">
</pet>
Does the difference lie in the fact that 'Spike' is likely to be user-facing content - as opposed to some behind-the-scenes value such as a width of 200?

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## Answers and Replies

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Thank you. The fact that this is a common question is good to know. And I do seem to be right on the money:

You can use either, it's a matter of design and practicality which you decide to use. But in general, the rule of thumb seems to be:
"...data goes in elements, metadata in attributes..."

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