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Re: E4H and constructing DOMs

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Thu, 07 Mar 2013 20:22:59 -0800
Cc: mikesamuel@gmail.com, "public-script-coord@w3.org" <public-script-coord@w3.org>
Message-id: <8A16646C-87AB-4639-A3E7-5949C5E5450F@apple.com>
To: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>

On Mar 7, 2013, at 7:57 PM, Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc> wrote:

> On Thu, Mar 7, 2013 at 5:55 PM, Mike Samuel <mikesamuel@gmail.com> wrote:
>> 2013/3/7 Adam Barth <w3c@adambarth.com>:
>>> On Thu, Mar 7, 2013 at 5:18 PM, Adam Barth <w3c@adambarth.com> wrote:
>>>> I don't think I fully understood your message because it was quite
>>>> long and contained many complex external references.  What I've
>>>> understood you to say is that you've managed to work around the
>>>> limitations of the current string-based template design by building a
>>>> complex mechanism for automatically escaping untrusted data.
>>> 
>>> As an example, in browsing the source code of the autoescaping code
>>> you referenced, I found the following line:
>>> 
>>> var HTML_TAG_REGEX_ = /<(?:!|\/?[a-z])(?:[^>'"]|"[^"]*"|'[^']*')*>/gi;
>>> 
>>> As famously written on Stack Overflow [1], "Regex is not a tool that
>>> can be used to correctly parse HTML."
>> 
>> That doesn't apply since this is not parsing, it is lexing, and
>> regular expressions can be used to lex HTML.
> 
> Actually, no you can't. For example the lexing of contents of <script>
> elements is quite complex.

For further reference, tokenizing HTML looks like this: <http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/tokenization.html#tokenization>.

It superficially looks like an FSM, so it seems tempting to process it with a regexp, but interaction with tree construction makes it non-regular.

Even if you ignore the non-regular bits, translating it to a regexp is hard. For example, with a few minutes study I found a string that the HTML spec and all browsers treat as an HTML open tag which is not matched by the regexp that Adam quoted. I assume this is likely a security flaw in the library it comes from. I am not sure if it's ok to post bug reports here or if there is some private channel to disclose the security bug; I'll gladly report it if someone tells me how.

Regards,
Maciej
Received on Friday, 8 March 2013 04:23:27 UTC

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