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The <!CDATA issue

From: Tim Foster <Tim.Foster@Sun.COM>
Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2005 21:01:52 +0000
To: public-i18n-its@w3.org
Message-id: <1110574480.1240.36.camel@argentum>

Hi Folks,

Here's my summary of the problems encountered with dealing with CDATA
sections in XML files, and our recommendation against using them for
translatable files.

Please feel free to edit this as you wish. Talk to you all in a few
weeks - I'm back on April 4th.



CDATA sections in XML pose problems to translators and tools authors
that are similar to the problems posed to other consumers of XML
documents : that is, that it is impossible to know the intended use of
the contents of a CDATA section. The use of CDATA sections in
translatable XML files is strongly discouraged, as they prevent elements
in the XML ITS from being used to mark up the localisable components of
that section of text.


There is a temptation to use CDATA sections in XML files to escape
sections of text that contain characters which would otherwise be
interpreted as XML characters.

A commonly employed example of this has been seen where document authors
attempt to easily produce an "XML version" of an input file by inserting
CDATA sections around text which contains HTML markup. Since these
escaped sections cannot be marked up using the XML ITS, they must be
examined manually to determine which sections contain translatable text,
non-translatable text, etc. This can result in bottle-necks in
translation processes while these manual steps are performed.

Tim Foster - Tools Engineer, Software Globalisation
http://sunweb.ireland/~timf http://blogs.sun.com/timf
Received on Friday, 11 March 2005 21:04:11 UTC

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