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Re: OMITTAG specifications in element declarations

From: Eve L. Maler <elm@arbortext.com>
Date: Sat, 02 Nov 1996 17:20:29 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: lee@sq.com, elm@arbortext.com, w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org
At 02:50 PM 11/2/96 EST, lee@sq.com wrote:
>Eve asked about the "- -" ommitted tag minimization parameter, and
>adding it in to XML.
>It is a red herring to say that putting them in XML would help
>compatibility: if you have OMITTAG YES in your DTD, you need to
>run SPAM or otherwise ensure that there are no omitted tags.
>XML applictions won't handle your text otherwise, so it doesn't
>matter if they wil handle the DTD or not.
>It would be like adding SHORTREF parsing to XML so that you can parse
>DTDs with SHORTREF -- if you're using SHORTREF, changing the DTD is
>the least of the work you have to do, and is a necessary step in
>any case.
>So no strange and spurious tokens in XML.  They are not needed for
>SGML conformance, they do not add to the expressive power of the
>language, they add slightly to language complexity, and not having them
>will actually _help_ interoperability with SGML.

I realize it's a bit strange to allow no-op characters, but new XML DTDs 
simply won't use them.  The problem is not so much explaining these tokens 
to new XML users; it's making existing DTDs usable in XML.  I'm not
saying new XML DTDs should *require* this field, just allow it.

The difference between OMITTAG and SHORTREF is that pretty much *every*
DTD today includes the OMITTAG field, even if just "- -", partly because 
the SGML declaration (where OMITTAG is set to YES or NO) is a component of 
SGML documents as a whole, and DTDs technically don't automatically
"come with" their own SGML declaration.

For me, this definitely comes under the heading of deciding whether or
not to punish existing SGML users.

Received on Saturday, 2 November 1996 17:18:39 UTC

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