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   Re: [xml-dev] Character Entities: An XML Core WG View

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11/3/2002 12:26:57 AM, "Rick Jelliffe" <ricko@allette.com.au> wrote:

>Why should a user have to distinguish between "what elements can I use?"
>and "what standard entities can I use?".

In my worldview  -- which admittedly is not XML 1.x's  -- elements
are first class "objects" in "XML" (along with attributes and text, and
not much else).  Every thing is is just syntax -- entities, CDATA
sections, comments [not sure about PIs ..], namespace declarations and
prefixes [just a funny syntax for creating unique names].  XML 1.x is
merely a widely adopted and semi-standardized syntax for serializing
these labeled, attributed tree thingies.  I think lots of other syntaxes that
are more compressed/encrypted, or more user-friendly, or legacy/proprietary,
or more theoretically understood (LISP comes to mind) will also be
widely used to exchange these data model thingies across systems and applications
and time.

Thus, I think of "what elements can I use" as a question about
first class objects in the data model , and "what standard entities
can I use" as a question about the syntax of one particular serialization
technique.  If we are talking only about users of XML 1.x syntax, I guess
one could rationally argue that there's no reason to distinguish questions
about element markup from entity markup, but it seems to make pragmatic sense
to distinguish concepts that are universally understood from those that are
not used by many XML specs (e.g., the W3C Infoset, in the case of character

I realize that many/most of you disagree with this worldview, but I
think that it's fairly common, e.g. in the SOAP and XPath/XSLT/
XQuery worlds. I suggest that people who accept the contrary
"the only foundation is the XML 1.x syntax" worldview should be somewhat
careful not to assume that concepts that have no representation in the 
W3C infoset (much less my hyper-minimalist data model!) are universally


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