Steve DeRose Steven_DeRose at Brown.edu
Thu Jan 14 00:28:56 GMT 1999

At 3:45 AM -0400 2/6/99, David LeBlanc wrote:
>At a minimum, a couple of things i'd like to see are CDATA element content
>and CDATA attribute content.

CDATA element content was one of the most-hated features of SGML (mainly
because of the rules about how they end). But more importantly, adding it
would remove one of the most important advantages (to my mind) of XML: you
could no longer correctly parse a document without the DTD -- since you'd
never know whether that "<" you just found was a delimiter or data. I
discuss this at length in The SGML FAQ Book, along with the rationale that
ultimately underlies many of XML's other choices (probably should have put
"XML" in the title, since most of it talks about XML motivation anyway).

As for CDATA attributes, I thought we had those. Now, "CDATA" for
attributes doesn't mean "entities aren't recognized" in them -- but it
doesn't mean that in SGML either. So if that's what you were hoping for,
there's no way to get it without pitching the nice property that XML is an
SGML subset -- SGML has no way to suppress delimiter recognition in
attributes (except perhaps the MS[IOS]CHAR function characters, which I
have never seen used, and doubt most SGML implementations actually

Just my $0.02.


Steven_DeRose at Brown.edu; http://www.stg.brown.edu/~sjd
Chief Scientist, Scholarly Technology Group, and
   Adjunct Associate Professor, Brown University;
Chief Scientist, Inso Corporation

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