Unix/Java design issues (Was: Re: Is CDATA "structure"?)

Arthur Rother arthur.rother at ovidius.com
Wed Jul 21 20:03:03 BST 1999

Sorry if I just bark into this conversation about CL LF discussion and I
hope I did not misunderstand what the actuall discussion is about.

For sure the LF vs CRLF and CR in theory (the spec) and for viewing in
Notepad is all correctly debated or noted, but pragmatically, does this
really provide a problem? The encoding for XML is UTF-8. So in allmost any
text viewer/editor, in normal(?) circumstances it will show strange in
these applications, since they do not understand UTF-8 (in windows). 
The API on XML, for example DOM, is also UTF-8, which most applications may
treat as 7-bit ASCII, but for encoding generic applications this should be
treated as UTF-8. Windows is not UTF-8 aware, so it has to be converted to
Unicode anyway. In that little almost like DOM API I wrote, the API on the
XML structure handles all data as UTF-8, and all 'newlines' are LF. My API,
in addition to DOM, defines conversion functions for those cases, where
data is passed to or from the outside world, mostly the GUI or some kind of
Database. In the windows implementation of my API, conversion functions
convert from the Windows Code Page or Unicode, to UTF-8, converting each
CR/LF into LF automatically, and from UTF-8 to the Windows Code Page or
Unicode, converting each LF into CR/LF. On Unix platforms, the conversion
preserves the one LF. Like this, on all platforms, the API delivers and
expects the kind of 'newlines' that platform expects. With a good parser (I
use SP and expat), the Data in the internal XML structure always uses a
single LF.

The above is true for writing XML applications using C or C++. Using Java,
isn't the Java engine supposed to handle it likewise, and I think it does.

So any platform such as Windows or Macintosh may use their favorite
'newline' sequences, but it does not, or shouldn't affect XML applications.
But it is true that it's a pitty that they treat 'newlines' differently and
it will hurt slightly the performance of these applications.

Vor simply viewing text in a text viewer/editor, there are many Windows
text editors around, that view unix and windows text files correctly (But
true is, that most do display incorrect, if the text file has mixed CRLF
and LF). And while copying textfiles from windows to macintosh, or the
other way around, automatic conversion (I think, or at least with the "read
mac disks little program" on my windows) takes place.

Best regards,
Arthur Rother

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