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Comment on Canonical XML draft of 2000-06-01, clause A.1

From: John Cowan <jcowan@reutershealth.com>
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2000 11:17:12 -0400 (EDT)
Message-ID: <39367E4F.B6BA43AB@reutershealth.com>
To: w3c-ietf-xmldsig@w3.org
The claim that "JavaScript is often embedded in HTML using comments"
is simply false.  The SCRIPT element in HTML 4.0 belongs to the non-XML type CDATA
(not to be confused with the attribute type CDATA), which means that markup
other than "</" followed by a letter is not recognized within it.
Any "<!--" and "-->" sequences in a SCRIPT element are in fact part of
the element content, and are passed to JavaScript, which ignores them.

Downlevel browsers that do not recognize the SCRIPT element may *believe* that
such "<!--" and "-->" sequences delimit a comment, but that does not 
mean that they actually do so in HTML.

	Q. How many legs does a dog have, if you call its tail a leg?
	A. Four.  Calling the tail a leg doesn't make it one.

In XHTML, "<!--" and "-->" sequences within the SCRIPT element will not work
and must not be used; thus canonicalization without comments would lose nothing.

In addition, the use of Canonical XML as an editing representation
seems unlikely, as it eliminates the use of entity references and DTDs, which are
frequently used in XML composed by hand.

Since these use cases are unfounded, I urge the DSig WG to reconsider
comments in canonical XML.

-- 

Schlingt dreifach einen Kreis um dies! || John Cowan <jcowan@reutershealth.com>
Schliesst euer Aug vor heiliger Schau,  || http://www.reutershealth.com
Denn er genoss vom Honig-Tau,           || http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
Und trank die Milch vom Paradies.            -- Coleridge (tr. Politzer)
Received on Thursday, 1 June 2000 11:45:24 GMT

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