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   Re: CharData and escaping ]]>

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  • From: Liam Quin <liamquin@interlog.com>
  • To: xml-dev@ic.ac.uk
  • Date: Tue, 16 Dec 1997 12:42:29 -0500 (EST)

Michael Kay at ICL wrote:
> If we assume that most XML will be software-generated, then it
> appears the only purpose of CDATA is to allow the software-writer
> to copy in a chunk of text without bothering to convert the <'s and
> &'s to &lt and &amp. But since he still has to check for any "]]>"
> in the text, and has no clear course of action if he finds one,
> it's not at all clear that it achieves this aim.

I'd say firstly that if you are writing software that works a character
at a time, it is generally easier to avoid CDATA marked sections and to
escape every < and & directly.  If you use a marked section, you need up
to 3 characters of lookahead, and you need to make sure that all of the
following sequences pass through unscathed:

Secondly, the simplest way to escape ]]> is to insert a Unicode
zero-width non-printing non-combining space between the ] and the >.
This might be a pain for some applications, though.

> In practice I will just get round it by escaping all my >'s 
> as well as my <'s.

That's what I would do too.


Liam Quin --  the barefoot typographer -- Toronto
lq-text: freely available Unix text retrieval
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