Re: ERB decisions, 23 October 1996
> A.17 Should XML have entities, or not?
> The ERB had already agreed that XML should have internal text entities
> and external NDATA entities. Today, after discussion, we agreed that
> support for external text entities would be an optional feature of XML
> 1.0 (dissenting: Clark, Paoli, Sharpe).
I find the introduction of "optional features" in XML most unfortunate - at
least I don't remember anything else that has been decided as optional. The
camel's nose is now in the tent and a ready mechanism is at hand to render our
It is now impossible to ensure that an XML 1.0 application can reliably process
an XML 1.0 document - without first determining the document's flavor. Add a few
more optional features and we will have feature stew to go along with our tag
If entities are essential for XML to be useful as an authoring language, than
entities should be in XML 1.0. I don't subscribe to that belief since I know of
several "useful editors" that do not support entities.
I hope that this decision is revisited. The ERB's decision to permit optional
features in XML 1.0 is, in my opion, a fatal flaw. A monolithic specification is
Whatever happened to as simple as possible?