Escape mechanism using release character

Kay Michael Michael.Kay at
Fri Jul 16 17:04:27 BST 1999

> Why is it that the well known escape mechanism of using a 
> release character (like '\') for escaping special characters 
> (eg. '<','&') not used in XML?

XML is based on SGML, whose escape convention of "&" probably predates the C
convention of "\".

In those days "\" was a very poor choice, because it is one of the
characters in ISO 646 that can have national variants. Now that national
variants of ISO 646 have fallen into disuse (except for ASCII of course)
this would be less of a problem.

Mike Kay

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