W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org > November 1996

Re: Recent ERB votes

From: Henry S. Thompson <ht@cogsci.ed.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 7 Nov 96 12:44:37 GMT
Message-Id: <20894.9611071244@grogan.cogsci.ed.ac.uk>
To: Arjun Ray <aray@nmds.com>, W3C-SGML-WG@w3.org
On the general subject of empty elements, DTD info reprised in
<?XML ... ?> PIs, etc, I find myself in a state of serious
uncertainty.

On the one hand, I REALLY care about SGML forward compatibility, so
I'd be REALLY sorry to lose vanilla <e> empty elements.  And I already
work with a normalised form very close to XML as the draft DID have
it, using a concise DTD reprise, so I could see converting my existing
code to handle XML plus DTD-reprise-in-PIs very easily.

On the other hand, I'm sympathetic to the criticism of adhocery which
Arjun makes, and indeed made it myself in the debate over
character-set-declarations-as-PIs.

I must say I agree with Eve Maler that grandfathering a specific LIST
of empty elements is reprehensible.  Note that wrt the 'can a
perl hacker do it in an afternoon' issue, this makes the
published decision virtually indistinguishable in difficulty from the
DTD-reprise-in-PIs approach---in either case a table of empty GIs has
to be maintained and checked.  I also agree with Paul that the
'possible inconsistencies' argument is vacuous.

On balance, then, I go with my original response on reading the draft,
namely "Oh good, a serviceable approach to compatibility", even if it
means using PIs IFF YOU WANT TO USE <e>.  Oh yes, one final note, wrt
Arjun's remarks about PIs: a parser IS an application, and there's
nothing bogus about shortstopping PIs flagged for the parser itself,
so the claimed necessity of having to round-trip the PIs out and back
again is invalid and not as such a basis for rejecting this approach.

I too therefore urge the board to return to the status quo ante wrt
<e> and <?XML empty names ... ?>

ht
Received on Thursday, 7 November 1996 07:45:29 EST

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