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Re: Concrete syntax, character sets



> [Responding to Tim Bray:]
> | At 07:19 PM 9/9/96 +0100, Martin Bryan wrote:
> | If you want such a distinction, use real SGML.  XML should use a hardwired 
> | concrete syntax.
> 
> I totally agree.

I agree to the extent that XML as defined right now should use a
hardwired concrete syntax, but to force only one such syntax is asking
for obsolescence.  There needs to be a way to specify 'versions' of
the concrete syntax used, where you might have a 7-bit ascii version
and a Unicode version, etc.  By putting the emphasis on a small number
of various 'versions' of XML's concrete syntax, the XML documents
themselves can be kept simple and concise.  From the point of view of
a parser, it is easiest if all the variables are known beforehand.
The less a parser must adapt to the document itself, the easier it is
to build the parser.  There should be a declaration which specifies
the syntax, using a public identifier to specify which XML syntax is
to be used.

As it stands now, there are very few tools which support portable text
beyond 7-bit ascii in any reliable way.  Given this framework, I think
XML should start with ascii, as a base.  Part of the whole concept
here, as I saw it, was that I could fire up vi or notepad and view a
document.  (Though I might not enjoy doing it.)  That paradigm breaks
if XML tries to leap-frog currently used technology too much.

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