There is a slight restriction on \xmlrefatt that makes its use problematic, 
because it does not differentiate between an absent attribute and an attribute 
consisting of an empty string.
The use for \xmlrefatt I had in mind was (a) do nothing if the attribute is 
absent, and (b) reset some value to its default value when the attribute is 
present but an empty string.

Is it an option that its implementation is changed? A boolean return value will 
be fine, because false then can signify the attribute’s absence and true its 
presence. In the latter case it is safe to retrieve the attribute which then 
might be an empty string.

Summarizing: the fact that \xmlrefatt tries to do two different things at the 
same time (signalling presence/absence) and returning an attribute, in a 
certain sense cripples its use.

dr. Hans van der Meer

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