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   Process failure in XML 1.1 PR: the control characters are back

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In direct contradiction to the W3C's advertised policies, the 
recently released XML 1.1 Proposed Recommedation makes a very 
substantive change since the candidate recommendation. The candidate 
recommendation used the following production for char:

[2]     Char    ::=    #x9 | #xA | #xD | [#x20-#x7E] | #x85 | [#xA0-#xD7FF]
                       | [#xE000-#xFFFD] | [#x10000-#x10FFFF]

Note that control characters such as bell and vertical tab were not 
allowed. They could be inserted using character references as 
indicated in section 4.1.

In the new proposed recommendation, however, this is no longer true. 
C0 controls can now be directly included in XML documents. Its Char 
production is:

[2]     Char     ::=     [#x1-#xD7FF] | [#xE000-#xFFFD] | 
[#x10000-#x10FFFF]  /* any Unicode character, excluding the surrogate 
blocks, FFFE, and FFFF. */
[2a]    RestrictedChar    ::=    [#x1-#x8] | [#xB-#xC] | [#xE-#x1F] | 
[#x7F-#x84] | [#x86-#xBF]

Despite production 2a, I can find no text in the spec that restricts 
these characters to being included only via character references and 
prevents them from being included literally.

This is a large change that was the subject of much controversy in 
the past.  Section 7.4.3 of the W3C's process document 

After gathering implementation experience, the Working Group MAY 
remove features from the technical report that were identified as 
being "at risk" and request that the Director Call for Review of a 
Proposed Recommendation. If the Working Group makes other substantive 
changes to the technical report, the Director MUST return it to the 
Working Group for further work.

If the Working group feels it's important to make this substantive 
change in the BNF grammar of XML 1.1 at this point in time, then the 
proposed recommendation should go back to working draft.


   Elliotte Rusty Harold
   Effective XML (Addison-Wesley, 2003)


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