Re: RE/RS Options: Trying to Focus

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From kimber@passage.com Tue Sep 24 07:55:59 1996

I'm trying to make some sense of the RE/RS issue and not having much luck.

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My conclusion is that eliminating mixed content by quoting character data
is the simplest solution overall and retains the most compatibility with
SGML as is.  While quoting may seem unnatural to those of us who grew up
typing SGML markup (it was to me when I put together some examples), I
don't think it will be hard for newcomers to learn and it should be easy
for SGML editors to add the quotes as an export option.


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I must confess that I'm sending this with some trepidation, since, like
Murray, "I am not an expert on SGML by any stretch of the imagination.
A brief conversation with any of the real experts in the crowd who know
me will confirm that."

However, like others in the crowd, I'm quite uncomfortable with
the proposal to "eliminate mixed content by quoting character data".
It seems to me this is akin to punishing the data for what the RE
is doing. Why not look at it from a different angle?

If I understand correctly, it all boils down to how to deal with
cases like:

Listen to my heart beat.
<?DIRECTOR: audio on>
And beat and beat and beat.

so the application sees

"Listen to my heart beat
And beat and beat and beat"

instead of

Listen to my heart beat.

And beat and beat and beat.

I would like to propose that instead of quoting the data to achieve the
desired results, the REs that produce extra new lines or whitespace, if
any, in the application's output should be escaped.

Listen to my heart beat.
<?DIRECTOR: audio on>\
And beat and beat and beat.\

This would not only avoid a few cases of RSI (for those brave enough
to use vi or emacs -- and believe me, whatever someone in this list
does is not indicative of what the population at large would) but it
is eminently teachable and explainable.

I am sure that there are problems with this proposal (such as what is
the appropriate escape character), but it's certainly simpler to 
understand - most writers should be familiar with the concept of escaping
REs, most developers should be able to deal with it without a second

Eduardo Gutentag		Sun Microsystems Inc (SunSoft)
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