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   Re: Whitespace

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  • From: dgd@cs.bu.edu (David G. Durand)
  • To: xml-dev@ic.ac.uk
  • Date: Tue, 26 Aug 1997 09:25:13 -0500

At 1:07 PM -0500 8/25/97, Sean Mc Grath wrote:
>[Liam Quin]
>>If this happens, it wlil be time to standardise whitespace handling at the
>>applicaton level, perhaps.  Right now, I fnd this argument totally bogus.
>What are you saying? Lets wait and see if the horse bolts - if he
>does we will lock the barn door?

This is a lovely example of how quoting out of context can replace giving a
counter-argument. Here's the _substantive_ part of Liam's note:

>Whitespace treatment needs to be specified in the CML specification,
>for example, and then any conforming CML processor will do the right
>thing and there's no problem.  Taking CML and passing it to a CDF processor
>will result in different whitespace treatment, I expect... and also different
>treatment of all the non-whitespace too!  And that's fine.

The point is (and I also made this at length before) there are few ways to
meaningfully process markup without knowing the DTD or having a stylesheet,
there are even fewer ways to process such markup (w/out stylsheet or
knowledge of the DTD) such that ignoring whitespace is something that you
_need_ to do. XML already provides you with _all_ the whitespace (unlike
original flavor SGML) -- so there's no problem with the parser hiding
significant whitespace. The only question is whether we should be addding
features to note that some whitespace is _insignficant_. In fact I believe
that small set of ways to process markup (that you don't know the meaning
of, without a processing spec), and where you _have to_ collapse or
otherwise mangle the whitespace is the _null set_.

As I asked before, I'd like to see even one example of of an application
that needs this.

   -- David

David Durand              dgd@cs.bu.edu  \  david@dynamicDiagrams.com
Boston University Computer Science        \  Sr. Analyst
http://www.cs.bu.edu/students/grads/dgd/   \  Dynamic Diagrams
--------------------------------------------\  http://dynamicDiagrams.com/
MAPA: mapping for the WWW                    \__________________________

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