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Re: RS/RE: basic questions



On Mon, 23 Sep 1996 08:35:04 -0400 Paul Prescod said:
>Joe seems to be proposing that if we
>
>* restrict PIs and comments to element content
>* restrict mixed-content-models to "|"
>* disallow inclusion exceptions
>
> ...
> ... Is this simplification an option?

Perhaps I undervalue the SGML record-end rules, but it seems to me
that prohibiting PIs and comments in mixed content solely in order
to preserve the RE rules is a case of throwing out baby in order to
preserve bathwater.  If we think it's hard to explain to users where
REs are preserved and where they are suppressed, wait til we try
explaining why comments are allowed between paragraphs but not within
paragraphs.

So no, I hope it's not considered a realistic option.  The other two
restrictions have independent motivations, and I think I favor each of
them, myself.

To come back to our core test:

Are the RE rules *essential* to good reprsentation of textual data?

I haven't heard anyone argue this position, only other positions:
  - the RE rules are part of 8879, and our goal of alignment with
    8879 requires that we follow them somehow
  - the RE rules are a convenience for data entry
  - the RE rules are simpler to explain than the alternatives

The only answer I know to the first argument is that in this particular
case strict conformance may exact too high a price in simplicity and
comprehensibility.  I'd like to minimize the difference between SGML and
XML in this area, but it may be that this is one place where the
conformance goal has to give.  (I suppose this boils down to my saying
that for me, the RE rules don't even pass the weaker test James was
arguing against:  I *don't* like them that much, and they *don't*
seem reasonably easy to implement.)

About the other two positions there is nothing to say except that they
do not seem to me to be true; others seem to find them more persuasive.

-C. M. Sperberg-McQueen


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