A little wish for short end tags (Was: RE: SDD bogus)

Paul Prescod papresco at technologist.com
Mon May 11 01:23:43 BST 1998

Marcus Carr wrote:
> I'd be interested to hear how you would justify allowing short end tags and not
> short start tags; 

Simple: short end tags are trivial to understand, trivial to parse,
non-obfuscatory and context-free. They also have plenty of precedent in
many other languages. Short start tags behave differently depending on
context, and thus are not trivial to understand, are not conducive to good
document maintenance and are not implemented in any non-SGML language I
know of.

> after all, they're trying to accomplish exactly the same thing,
> so any argument for one surely supports the other. Without adequate justification
> for short end tags and against short start tags, any decision will appear to be
> arbitrary rather than a balanced compromise. 

XML is a relatively arbritrary mix of SGML's most interesting features. I
certainly think that the decision to include some things and exclude
others seems arbitrary. C'est la vie. That's how you get a workable

> This is what the slippery slope scenario means to me; your "halfway" won't 
> be everyone elses.

I didn't claim it had to be, nor should be. That's why the XML working
group holds votes to decide the outcome of decisions. Each person chooses
their halfway and the majority rules. This situation is no different than
any other.

 Paul Prescod  - http://itrc.uwaterloo.ca/~papresco

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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