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   Re: [xml-dev] XML and mainframes, yet again (was RE: [xml-dev] So

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At 8:49 PM -0500 12/16/01, John Cowan wrote:

>EBCDIC vs. ASCII is perfectly irrelevant to this discussion: mainframes
>can work with ASCII files as well as EBCDIC files, but in either
>case the NEL character (encoded as hex 85 in ASCII encoding or
>hex 15 in EBCDIC encoding) is the native line delimiter.

Again, that's simply not true. There is no NEL in ASCII. A document 
that includes NEL (or any other byte above #7F) is not an ASCII 

>>  XML should work with the standard semantics for each character. The
>>  standard understanding of NEL is (in rough order of actual usage):
>>  *  The three-dot ellipsis
>>  *  A missing glyph box
>>  *  Latin capital letter O with diaresis
>>  *  Many other characters
>Not at all.  The *character* #x85 means either a line break or nothing at
>all.  The *hex byte* 85 has the multiple meanings you mention, because
>it encodes the character #x2026 in your first case, and the character
>#D6 in your third case.

Your understanding of meaning is as defined by the spec. My 
understanding of meaning is what actually gets presented to an end 
user by real software. Present  character 85 to current non-mainframe 
software however you like. Short of turning it into the byte #0A or 
the byte #0D, it's not going to have the meaning "line break".

>In order to understand the issues, it's *critical* not to mix up
>characters and bytes.

I'm fully aware of the difference. And yet our software does mix up 
characters and bytes. Even when presented with a document with a 
properly labeled encoding, lots of common software still makes 
mistakes like this.

| Elliotte Rusty Harold | elharo@metalab.unc.edu | Writer/Programmer |
|          The XML Bible, 2nd Edition (Hungry Minds, 2001)           |
|              http://www.ibiblio.org/xml/books/bible2/              |
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