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Re: SDATA, again

From: Michael Sperberg-McQueen <U35395@UICVM.UIC.EDU>
Date: Tue, 10 Dec 96 08:47:25 CST
Message-Id: <199612101509.KAA12262@www10.w3.org>
To: W3C SGML Working Group <w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org>
On Mon, 9 Dec 1996 10:36:14 -0500 David G. Durand said:
>   I would like to repreat my appeal that we revisit the
>SDATA decision.  I'm sure that no extended rationale was
>presented for the decision, and I've been unable to find a
>record of it at all. As XML stands we have the private use

The second half of October was, if I remember correctly, given
over largely though not exclusively to the discussion of this
question.  There seems little point in my contributing to this
discussion now, since what I contributed then (I thought they were
extended discussions, and they certainly described the rationale for
the ERB decision) seems not only not to have persuaded David, but to
have been invisible to him.

So I'll just ask David to follow the obvious guideline:  if you
failed to persuade everyone that SDATA is worth having in the spec
the first time around, and now want to raise the question again, can
you please provide some new arguments?  The old arguments have been
read, and understood, and discussed.  David thinks, I suspect, that
I didn't understand his arguments, but understanding is not the same
as agreement.  His arguments didn't persuade me then, and I for one
have enough other things on my plate not to want to discuss an issue
for the third time, when nothing new has been added to the

In all the cases I know of where SDATA entities now work without
user intervention, the SDATA entities are known characters which
occur in Unicode.  In cases where non-Unicode characters are
successfully handled, all the cases I know of involve user
intervention in the application's character tables.  Removing SDATA
entities does not change this state of affairs one whit:  known
characters will work, and others will require user intervention.

The problem of characters not known to an application is a real and
serious one.  I'd like to see some discussion of how to solve it,
rather than further special pleading for SDATA, which seems to me to
be a band-aid for the problem, not a solution to it.  We need a real
solution, not a band-aid, and I am not convinced that SDATA is
even a part of a real solution.

Michael Sperberg-McQueen
Received on Tuesday, 10 December 1996 10:09:11 UTC

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