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Re: HTML 5 removed "numeric character reference" term - why?

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2007 04:56:28 +0000 (UTC)
To: Mike Brown <mike@skew.org>
Cc: public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.64.0706220452270.31033@dhalsim.dreamhost.com>

On Mon, 18 Jun 2007, Mike Brown wrote:
> 
> HTML 5 redefines "character entity reference" in such a way as to unify 
> the term with what used to be known in SGML and XML as numeric character 
> references, reflecting a common conflation made by people who don't know 
> what entity means.
> 
> To retain alignment with XML and 30 years of document processing, I 
> suggest not inventing an HTML-5 specific definition of entity, and 
> instead continue to use the correct and distinct terms:
> 
> "Character entity references" are a class of "entity references" -- 
> references to named entities (a fairly well-defined concept in SGML and 
> XML) -- where the entities consist of single characters.
> 
> "Numeric character references", in contrast, are references to 
> characters that use explicit numeric code points rather than referring 
> to named abstractions.
> 
> If the change to just call them all "character entity references" was 
> deliberate, why not put a note of explanation in the spec?

I agree that the spec is somewhat walking all over the SGML spec's terms 
for this stuff.

The problem is I need a term that means both "character entity references" 
and "numeric character references" and isn't unwieldly. Any suggestions? 
Right now the spec uses the term "character entity references" in the 
"writing html" section and just "entities" in the "parsing html" section.

-- 
Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Friday, 22 June 2007 04:58:55 GMT

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