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Re: those predeclared entity refs



> Objection 3:
> 
>   The names quot, amp, apos, lt, and gt are significantly easier to
>   remember than the corresponding numeric forms.
> 
> Response:
> 
>   Easier for people whose native language is other than English,
>   i.e., most of humanity?  I don't think so.

For those who know HTML, or almost any SGML DTD, they are. Besides, it is a 
false dichtomy: those more comfortable with numbers can use numbers.

> In return for not predefining character entities we get the following
> benefits:
> 
> 1. Language neutrality.

Overrated. What's the Japanese for "<!ELEMENT" and why did we choose not to
allow it? Why not redefine that to a number also? <!23 gi (#43)+>

I heard this argument for the reason why OS/2 formatted floppies would report 
"SYSTEM ERROR: 32341" if they weren't bootable: if it isn't going to be a
meaningful error message for everyone, it shouldn't be meaningful for anyone.
I don't buy it.

> 2. Cleaner specification.

A little, but not, in my opinion worth the cost.

> 3. Zero incursion into the user's name space for character entities.

Who wants to override &lt; and &gt;? I think that anyone who does so is
making a mistake, whether they are English speaking or not. It's like using
"IF" as a variable name in languages that allow it: no matter what your native
language you are just asking for confusions with the keyword IF and the 
convention that "IF" means "conditional" no matter what your native language
is. Many programming languages invented by non-English speakers use the 
conventional keywords -- they are magic strings -- like "car" and "cdr" in 
Lisp. They were meaningful to a particular set of people at a particular time
and it doesn't make sense to change them now. Calling them numbers would not
have helped.

> 4. Elimination of nitty objections to the names apos and quot (which
>    we haven't talked about much but are out there).

I'm not as tied to those names as to &lt;, &amp; and to a lesser extent 
&gt;, so if they really are contraversial, I would agree to dump them.

> 5. Elimination of all other issues relating to predefined character
>    entities (such as the one that Paul raised).

For the usability cost for those familiar with HTML and other DTDs, I would
rather just solve the issues.

 Paul Prescod


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