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   Re: Whitespace

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  • From: Peter@ursus.demon.co.uk (Peter Murray-Rust)
  • To: xml-dev@ic.ac.uk
  • Date: Tue, 26 Aug 1997 09:01:17 GMT

In message <199708260532.WAA00995@boethius.eng.sun.com> Jon.Bosak@eng.Sun.COM (Jon Bosak) writes:
> It's not up to me to tell this group what to talk about, but I think
> that you should be aware that the WG discussed the issue of whitespace
> to the point of complete exhaustion during no less than three separate
> phases of the design process, and the chances of it being formally
> reconsidered in the XML 1.0 time frame are exactly zero.  A discussion
This is the position I have been taking - there is no suggestion that we 
should ask the WG for a change to the spec.  My suggestions to this group 
were based on the assumption that there was a group of developers who were
sufficiently interested in this problem that they could develop some protocols
which might be helpful to the community.

The following mechanisms are consistent with the current spec and do not
require changes:
	1. stylesheets. The authors can describe how they expect stylesheet
	processors to treat their documents. 
	2. PIs (e.g. <?WHITESPACE ... ?>
	3. additional elements in the DTD (e.g. NEWLINE).
	4. implicit conventions (i.e. 'always replace CR/LF with CR').

(Have I missed anything?)

We are clear that this has been discussed at great length on the WG and are
not seeking to re-open that discussion. My suggestion here is that we are
trying to see how the WG's conclusion can be implemented.

> of conventions for specific classes of user agents (e.g., web
> browsers) is useful, but I feel that it's my obligation to point out
Some people think this is a waste of time.  Perhaps it may turn out to be.
Unlike the discussions on the spec, this group has no stated goals and exists
to provide mutual support for those developing XML applications. If a number
of people feel this is worth discussing,  then see let's see if they can 
achieve anything. If *they* wish to spend the time trying to do this, it
needn't waste other people's ... :-)

My own feelings are that only mechanisms 1 and 2 above are likely to find
favour. I think that PIs can be further explored in this discussion.
(Perhaps I should not have used <?XML-WHITESPACE .. ?> as this would (I think)
require WG approval, so I would rephrase this as <?XDEV-WHITESPACE .. ?>)
Given that, it seems possible to include PI statements within the document as
the how the author intends the whitespace to be treated.

It may be argued that this can be done better with stylesheets. Perhaps I'm
conservative, but I see PIs embedded in a document as 'being part of the
document' to a greater extent than stylesheets which are more likely to be
changed by people other than the document's authors. 

> to anyone mistakenly thinking that this issue might conceivably be
> reconsidered in the current XML specification that it is not going to
> happen.

Peter Murray-Rust, domestic net connection
Virtual School of Molecular Sciences

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