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Re: [xml-dev] Why isn't the semicolon a reserved character?

On Sat, Mar 15, 2014 at 5:41 PM, Costello, Roger L. <costello@mitre.org> wrote:

Why isn't the ; symbol a reserved symbol?

The short answer is that ; is used constantly in text of all kinds, and it would be far too painful to require it to be escaped all the time.  Escaping & is bad enough; < and > are typically only used in mathematical text.

A better question is "Why is ]]> reserved?"  Ken Holman's answer is that doing so allows CDATA sections to contain CDATA section openers, but I doubt if this is very useful.  The real answer is "Because that's the way SGML did it."  In order to keep MicroXML a subset of XML, the former requires all > characters to be escaped just in case.

John Cowan          http://www.ccil.org/~cowan        cowan@ccil.org
It is revolting to have no better reason for a rule of law than that so it was
laid down in the time of Henry IV. It is still more revolting if the grounds
upon which it was laid down have vanished long since, and the rule simply
persists from blind imitation of the past. --Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

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