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

Re: those predeclared entity refs

From: altheim <Murray.Altheim@Eng.Sun.COM>
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 17:52:13 -0800 (PST)
To: lee@sq.com
Cc: w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org
Message-ID: <libSDtMail.9703131752.4365.altheim@mehitabel/jurassic>
Lee writes:
> The minimal set seems to be ampersand and left angle bracket.
> Can these already be quoted with their delimiter names, as
> in &#ERO; and so on?  SGML allows that.  I like that, as it makes
> clear why you are ding the quoting, although it's pretty hard to
> explain the strange names.

I'm not sure quite what you mean by 'quoted.' I think the names
seem strange in that it isn't the 'direct English' of 'amp' or 'lt'.
If it were available as an option, I'd much prefer using character
references in this form, since

  a. we are really only using them to escape special characters 
     in SGML, so most if not all are declared in the reference
     delimiter set (Goldfarb, p. 360)
  b. if the reference delimiter is changed, (eg., '<' to 'foo') then
     the entity reference ('&#ERO') changes with it
  c. they are as 'language-neutral' as SGML, rather than specifically
     English acronyms
  d. they are well-defined (ie.,8879)
But from what I can gather, they can't be used in a document instance.
nsgmls returns an error such as

   "ERO" is not a function name
so I'm gathering this option is not available. Too bad though.

> I don't see a need for more than ampersand and lt, and I accept that
> some people will prefer the confusing "amp" name to "ampersand".
> So I propose a compromise: just two entities, amp and lt.

I'd certainly be happy with several such as you mention, but logically
to me it seems better if we don't define any at all, insofar as they 
aren't formally declared in DTD-less documents unless a default
ENTITIES document is invisibly included. And then, we're not compatible
with SGML.


Murray Altheim, SGML Grease Monkey                    <altheim@eng.sun.com>
Tools Development & Online Production
Sun Microsystems, 2550 Garcia Ave., MS UMPK17-102, Menlo Park, CA 94043 USA
         "Give a monkey the tools and he'll build a typewriter."
Received on Thursday, 13 March 1997 20:52:28 UTC

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