XML 1.0 spec appears to violate itself

Paul Grosso pgrosso at arbortext.com
Tue Aug 24 22:27:13 BST 1999

It is true that the line Takuki Kamiya found is in error.
That much is clear.

At 12:01 1999 08 24 -0700, David Brownell wrote:
>It's clear that it _is_ permitted to redeclare entities (including the
>predeclared ones) in the internal subset.  See section 4.6 where it
>talks about various "may" (may redeclare) and "must" (must still be WF,
>and not change the standard effect) cases, none of which could work
>if such redeclaration were disallowed.

But if anything else is clear, it's that this issue that David claims
is clear isn't clear.

I was the one who argued this before, and I don't want to reopen the 
discussion, but I continue to read the following text (quoted from 4.6
aka http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-xml#sec-predefined-ent):

  If the [predefined] entities in question are declared, 
  they must be declared as internal entities whose replacement 
  text is the single character being escaped or a character reference 
  to that character, as shown below. 

[which is then followed by a list of declarations for the 5 predefined 
entities] to say that it is not permissible to declare those 5 entity
references any differently than as shown in that table.

Perhaps it is possible to read the "as" in "as shown below" to mean
"in a vaguely similar manner that does not change the standard effect", 
but that is a somewhat non-standard meaning in my experience.  Nowhere 
in 4.6 does the word "redeclare" appear (as in "may redeclare").  In 
fact, after a couple uses of "may" in the first paragraph unrelated to 
the predefined entities themselves, the word "may" does not appear in 
section 4.6.  It is at least reasonable to believe (as I do) that the
"must be declared" in section 4.6 which I include in my quote above 
modifies, among other words, the "as shown below" phrase implying that
it is an error to have a declaration for any of these 5 entities that
differs from that shown in the table.


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