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   RE: [xml-dev] Parameter entity references

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In the SGML On The Web WG/SIG debate about features 
to toss, some of us wanted to get rid of PEs.  The 
counter argument was that some DTDs reached a level 
of complexity that they became unmaintainable without 
PEs.  Others argued that at that point, it might be 
better to use multiple DTDs and refactor the documents 
themselves, or just get used to cut and paste.

They are useful, but I have tried to avoid them whenever 
possible mainly because they make a DTD painful to 
read. To understand a DTD, I always have to 
replace these with the actual productions.  
Those who argue they are like object-encapsulation, 
a design tool, a modularity feature, and so forth, 
have a weaker point than I like for keeping a feature 
so prone to errors.  


-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Kay [mailto:michael.h.kay@ntlworld.com]

> I am very wary of proposing errata to fix this kind of thing,
> because it is so easy to produce unintended consequences.

This is an admission that the whole business of parameter entity references
is so fragile that no-one dares touch it in case the whole edifice comes
tumbling down. This is not a good foundation for the e-commerce
infrastructure of the 21st century. When this happens to code that I'm
responsible for, I throw it away and start again.


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