SDD bogus

Paul Prescod papresco at
Fri May 8 21:34:59 BST 1998

David Megginson wrote:
> In the end, as one might have predicted, there is an impressive range
> of free XML processors available in several different programming
> languages: someone writing an RDF tool does not need to worry about
> the character and entity level of XML at all, and can work with XML
> easily through a more abstract interface such as the DOM or SAX.

That's a dangerous heresy, though one that I've promoted myself. If we
presume that programmers are going to work through parsers, then why
couldn't we leave GI's out of end tags and make XML substantially less
verbose (qualitatively at least)? Anyhow, many people argue with some
justification that regexp-based processing of the source files will still
be very important and popular. I'm not convinced that the cost/benefit
ratio is right, if we win over the awk hackers and annoy the document
authors, but we will see.

> So, we should let the authors decide -- if an author creates a
> document referencing external entities (including an external DTD
> subset), then the XML parser should handle them; if the author does
> not want to use external entities, then she can simply avoid
> referencing any.

Although I agree with Tim that this is a separate issue, I agree with you
that external entities should always be processed. It seems strange to me
to put responsibility for managing performance in the hands of the parser.
The parser writer has no information about the performance characteristics
of the entity vs. the importance of the data. Ignoring content should not
be the parser's perogative.

Consider Tim's example:

> Netscape today
> announced that &NSA;. In
> response, Microsoft
> issued the following
> statement: &MSA;.

As an author, I would be pretty damn pissed off if a browser presented the
document that way, even if it uses nice icons for the entities. What does
the document mean with half of its text missing? If I've used external
entities in that way, then I have probably decided to do it for a good
reason. If I wanted a text inclusion that could be downloaded after a
mouseclick, that sounds like a special behaviour that could be
accomplished through XLink.

 Paul Prescod  -

Can we afford to feed that army, 
 while so many children are naked and hungry?
Can we afford to remain passive, 
 while that soldier-army is growing so massive?
  - "Gabby" Barbadian Calpysonian in "Boots"

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