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

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David Carlisle scripsit:

> However as soon as any of these language modules suggests any character
> entities the whole "modularisation" scheme gets fundamentally crippled
> and you have to have a document wide set of definitions specified in
> DTD syntax that is consistent over all the modules.  

The question is, why should the privilege of being inconsistent (e.g. using
the same names for distinct characters) be allowed?  Distinct names for
the same characters may be unavoidable for reasons of backward compatibility,
but what reason is there for not agreeing on the significance of any given
name?  Must we allow some people to write GREEK CAPITAL LETTER GAMMA as
γ whereas more sensible folk want to use Γ or Γ for the
capital and γ for the small version?

It is easy to create a principled defense of this sort of inconsistency
for elements and attributes (hence the invention of namespaces), since they
are drawn from the untrammeled noosphere.  But character entity names are
all drawn from the same Unicode character space.  I have yet to see a
principled defense for supporting inconsistency here.

> Either one could agree a common set of definitions across all the major
> vocabularies, so that in practice the problem doesn't arise even if the
> architecture doesn't really provide any support. As I've said earlier, I
> can't see this happening unless the W3C XML activity takes that on as a
> work item.

Why not the IETF, or ISO, or OASIS?  Or a task force drawn from the various
interested parties which reports proposed changes to each of its member
bodies?  Or a SAX-style benevolent dictator who has enough clout to
carry it through?

John Cowan  jcowan@reutershealth.com  www.ccil.org/~cowan  www.reutershealth.com
"If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on
the shoulders of giants."
        --Isaac Newton


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