W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org > June 1997

Re: Parameter entities vs. GI name groups

From: David G. Durand <dgd@cs.bu.edu>
Date: Fri, 20 Jun 1997 10:23:54 -0500
Message-Id: <v03007801afd04f49ef88@[205.181.197.115]>
To: w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org
At 11:25 PM -0500 6/19/97, Terry Allen wrote:
>But the only reason I dispute this point with Eve (with whom I
>am jointly responsible for a DTD now highly parameterized due
>to her efforts) is that I doubt that we understand what it might
>mean to deal with partial DTDs.  ISO 8879 doesn't envision the
>case where the infernal subset is parsed but not the external
>subset; yet that seems to be contemplated in XML.

And when I suggest that, I think the only way that it's workable is if you
can use external parameter entities, since otherwise those subsets are
going to be too large to be workable.

>So far, in this forum, we have been told variously (in response
>to various statements of requirements) that we should use PDF
>or Postscript or HTML.  Now we're being told that instead of
>XML we should use SGML.  I thought that was the point to begin
>with.

I think the assumption that seems to be underlying this movement is that
no-one who doesn't already have an SGML shop will want to use full-featured
XML. I think that this assumption may well be false. We can't prove what
the future will hold, but eliminating parameter entities will shape it
powerfully, in the direction of making XML vastly more limited.

Let's relax compatibility with SGML and make PEs into straight text macros
rather than eliminating them. I think that this would be a win for users as
well, since the harders thing about learning PEs is that the string
substitution model is _not_ correct.


>Executive summary:  parameter entities are a dividing line,
>watershed, shibboleth.  Dump them and you go one way, retain
>them and you go another.  Whatever gets deployed we will cope
>with; that's our business; if you want to make XML cheap you
>need to make it capable of standing on its own without an
>SGML shop behind the curtain.

Yea, verily, Yea!

  -- David

_________________________________________
David Durand              dgd@cs.bu.edu  \  david@dynamicDiagrams.com
Boston University Computer Science        \  Sr. Analyst
http://www.cs.bu.edu/students/grads/dgd/   \  Dynamic Diagrams
--------------------------------------------\  http://dynamicDiagrams.com/
MAPA: mapping for the WWW                    \__________________________
Received on Friday, 20 June 1997 10:27:16 EDT

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