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RE: Historical I18n Note

[Len Bullard] talking about the SGML Declaration
>Again, the Declaration is the ultimate escape hatch:

I disagree with Len here.

The SGML Declaration is not the ultimate escape
hatch. It is a declarative syntax providing a finite
amount of options for configuring the lexical side
of an SGML parser. A finite set of dials that can
be twisted.

If the configuration you want cannot be achieved
by twisting the dials -- you are out of luck.

The ultimate escape hatch is *code* - always.

The trick with declarative syntaxes is to mix
asymptotic omniscience with humility - try and
forsee what will be needed in terms of "dials" but leave
an escape catch to splice in imperative code when
your forsight is found wanting (which it will).

Both extremes of the mix are unsavoury to the masses.
SGML is an example of the former. Lisp is an example
of the latter. XML does not solve this problem - it just
moves it into other systems that then struggle with
it afresh. XSLT for example:-)