Proposal: Raw XML Token

Author(s): Sam Whited

Last updated: 2018-09-01

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CL at


This proposal defines a mechanism by which users can emulate the ,innerxml struct tag using XML tokens.


When using the "*Encoder".EncodeToken API to write tokens to an XML stream, it is currently not possible to fully emulate the behavior of Marshal. Specifically, there is no functionality that lets users output XML equivalent to the ,innerxml struct tag which inserts raw, unescaped, XML into the output. For example, consider the following:

e := xml.NewEncoder(os.Stdout)
e.Encode(struct {
    XMLName xml.Name `xml:"raw"`
    Inner   string   `xml:",innerxml"`
Inner: `<test:test xmlns:test="urn:example:golang"/>`,
// Output: <raw><test:test xmlns:test="urn:example:golang"/></raw>

This cannot be done with the token based output because all token types are currently escaped. For example, attempting to output the raw XML as character data results in the following:

// &lt;test:test xmlns:test=&#34;urn:example:golang&#34;&gt;


The proposed API introduces an XML pseudo-token: RawXML.

// RawXML represents some data that should be passed through without escaping.
// Like a struct field with the ",innerxml" tag, RawXML is written to the
// stream verbatim and is not subject to the usual escaping rules.
type RawXML []byte

// Copy creates a new copy of RawXML.
func (r RawXML) Copy() RawXML { … }


When attempting to match the output of legacy XML encoders which may produce broken escaping, or match the output of XML encoders that support features that are not currently supported by the encoding/xml package such as namespace prefixes it is often desirable to use ,rawxml. However, if the user is primarily using the token stream API, it may not be desirable to switch between encoding tokens and encoding native structures which is cumbersome and forces a call to Flush.

Being able to generate the same output from both the SAX-like and DOM-like APIs would also allow future proposals the option of fully unifying the two APIs by creating an encoder equivalent to the NewTokenDecoder function.


This proposal introduces one new exported type that would be covered by the compatibility promise.


Implementation of this proposal is trivial, comprising some 5 lines of code (excluding tests and comments). CL 127435 has been created to demonstrate the concept.

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