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   Re: [xml-dev] Suggestion for an alternative XML 1.1

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At 8:16 PM -0500 12/16/01, John Cowan wrote:

>Provided said reasonable text editor understands the local line-end
>format.  Reasonable Windows t.e.'s can't cope with Unix format,
>and reasonable Unix t.e.'s can't cope with Mac format.
>Reasonable MVS t.e.'s can't cope with Windows, Mac, *or* Unix format.

That's simply not true. Text editors on various platforms routinely 
and transparently recognize the \n, \r, and \r\n line ending 
conventions. (Notepad and SimpleText fail but they're hardly 
anybody's first choice. Pico fails on Mac line ending conventions but 
works with DOS conventions.) However, as far as I've been able to 
find no text editors outside of the IBM mainframe world recognize NEL 
as a line ending. It is far less standard than \r, \n, and \r\n.

>>  *incredibly* useful for developers and for teaching. It is a large
>>  reason why XML is superior to binary file formats.
>I agree.  Which is why saying that some developers, on some
>systems, have the choice "XML xor plain text", we have an
>inequity that must be fixed.

But fixing it for IBM breaks it for far more people. The harm vastly 
outweighs the benefit. XML documents don't live on just one system. 
They move from mainframes to PCs to Macs to Unix workstations and 
more. As soon as we let 0x85 into the mix, especially as representing 
a line break, the document becomes notably troublesome on the vast 
majority of systems. In essence, by allowing XML documents to be 
plain text files on mainframes, they are no longer plain text files 
on Unix, the Mac, and Windows.

It's not like NEL can do anything \r and \n can't do, or that 
documents need all three at once. It's just a different and uncommon 
convention to mean the same thing. This is not like adding the 
Cyrillic alphabet on top of the Latin alphabet. They Cyrillic 
alphabet lets you say things you can't say in ASCII. However, NEL 
doesn't say anything new, just uses a different code point for the 
exact same thing.

| Elliotte Rusty Harold | elharo@metalab.unc.edu | Writer/Programmer |
|          The XML Bible, 2nd Edition (Hungry Minds, 2001)           |
|              http://www.ibiblio.org/xml/books/bible2/              |
|   http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0764547607/cafeaulaitA/   |
|  Read Cafe au Lait for Java News:  http://www.cafeaulait.org/      |
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