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   RE: [xml-dev] Alternative "character entity" proposal

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: Richard Tobin [mailto:richard@cogsci.ed.ac.uk] 
> Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 2003 11:16
> To: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
> Subject: Re: [xml-dev] Alternative "character entity" proposal
> In article <004101c398ad$645aeaf0$6401a8c0@pcukmka> you write:
> >Simply the fact that I can't expand my entities until I know what my 
> >namespace bindings are, and I can't expand my namespace URIs until I 
> >know what my entities refer to.
> I'm not sure whether you're concerned about recognising 
> entity references or entity declarations.
> I have mentioned the possibility of entity names being 
> namespaced, but that was not a necessary part of the 
> proposal.  If you mean that the entity-binding attributes 
> can't be recognised, then (a) I didn't specify whether the 
> entity bindings apply to the other attributes and namespace 
> declarations on the same element - that would have to be 
> decided, and (b) the xmlent prefix could be a magic, fixed 
> one like xml (ugly but possible).
> And to re-iterate what I said to start with: I don't like 
> this proposal very much.  I just wanted to ensure that an 
> obvious approach was not ignored.

I see some merit in this proposal and in others.  However, I am still
unconvinced that XML 1.0 is broken in this area.  I still believe the entire
issue should be addressed at the software level:

1) smarter editors/viewers could use smarter input methods and visualization

2) smarter parsers could complete an "incomplete" XML document, such as one
that contains XHTML and MathML character entity references but doesn't
include their declaration in any way.

One of my objections that no proposal has answered was:  What do I do if I
have an existing document that contains "difficult" characters that my
editor can't handle?  I have to use a smarter editor, of course (or
pre-process the document in some way).  Whatever change is made to XML to
improve entity handling is not going to help me.

And, once I use a smarter editor, the problems disappear.


> -- Richard
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