Re: those predeclared entity refs

At 10:29 PM -0800 3/25/97, Jon Bosak wrote:
>So where do you draw the line?  Including all of them is a nightmare,
>and including less than that is arbitrary.  Some have said that people
>are too used to < to accept a numeric reference.  Well, I have bad
>news: a whole lot of people are used to é and —, too.

Drawing arbitrary lines is what a standard is for. Being arbitrary is not
_always_ a crime.

>Any case for including predefined entities because it's what people
>are used to is a case for including all of them.  And you can't
>include all of them because you end up with a stinking mess.

I don't think so in this case. One reason to preserve those entity values
is that people know them as an escaping mechanism for syntactic characters.

I for one, still think that for the reasons you give, we should have
included ISOlat1; I think compatibility with HTML is important, and
compatibility with the rest of the ISO standards is a non-issue.

However, I think that the magic five have a different argument which is to
allow a "simple" escaping mechanism. For many HTML-level users, the notion
of character codes is not simple. The notion of escape sequences is one
that they have already been forced to deal with -- so we should not force
them to the character code model when it's not required.

Personally I sympathise with the DHH (Dumb HTML Hacker). Despite years of
CS geekdom, I still file most numerical information in a mental hashtable,
under the key "number" -- and almost always have to look up even codes that
I've looked up 1000 times. So I know that _even for me_ the usability
increase will be significant if we keep the entities.

>We have decided to go with Unicode precisely in order to get beyond
>all this.  Let's get it over with.

And as you know, the incompleteness of the Unicode character set means that
we are already forcing people to invent non-transportable opaque private
character sets (SDATA again). Let's not make it even worse by throwing out
useful, totally standard, well-established practice in favor of more
obscure, hard-to-remember numerical codes.

   -- David

David Durand              dgd@cs.bu.edu  \  david@dynamicDiagrams.com
Boston University Computer Science        \  Sr. Analyst
http://www.cs.bu.edu/students/grads/dgd/   \  Dynamic Diagrams
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