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   Re: A little wish for short end tags (Was: RE: SDD bogus)

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  • From: David Megginson <ak117@freenet.carleton.ca>
  • To: "XML Developers' List" <xml-dev@ic.ac.uk>
  • Date: Mon, 11 May 1998 02:11:02 -0400

Paul Prescod has quite rightly objected to a simplistic slippery-slope
argument against short end tags.  I have thought of what might be a
stronger argument: as an (unstated?) design principle, XML provides
exactly one alternative for nearly every markup item.  For example,
the following are some of the possible start tags in SGML (the
second-last one is an example of a shortref):


The following are some of the possible end tags in SGML (the
second-last one, again, is a shortref):


In XML, start tags with no attributes look like "<foo>" and end tags
with no attributes look like "</foo>".  That saves a chapter or so
from every XML text, a month or so from each parser-writer's calendar,
a few days from each intro to XML course, etc. etc.

Of course, any good pedant will point out that "<foo >" (with trailing
whitespace)is a sort-of variant in XML, and that XML does provide what
might be called variant or redundant features (such as the choice of
"'" or '"' as literal delimiters, and pre-declared entities like
"&amp;" where "&#38;" would serve as well).

All the best,


David Megginson                 ak117@freenet.carleton.ca
Microstar Software Ltd.         dmeggins@microstar.com

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