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Re: Amaya mishandling HREF values that contain ampersand

From: E.E. Mellor <eem21@cam.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 1999 15:27:23 +0100 (BST)
To: Andrew Pam <xanni@glasswings.com.au>
cc: Malcolm Austen <malcolm.austen@computing-services.oxford.ac.uk>, "Alan J. Flavell" <flavell@a5.ph.gla.ac.uk>, Amaya List <www-amaya@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.SOL.4.10a.9907061509070.25018-100000@orange.csi.cam.ac.uk>
On Wed, 7 Jul 1999, Andrew Pam wrote:

> On Tue, Jul 06, 1999 at 02:27:05PM +0100, E.E. Mellor wrote:
> > > Surely, in a URL an ampersand is escaped as %26 ?
> > 
> >   B.2.2 Ampersands in URI attribute values  
> 
> This seems like a rather unfortunate design oversight in the HTML 4.0
> specification.  Using %26 is preferable because it doesn't rely on
> browsers correctly converting &amp; back to an ampersand, and the
> admonishment to replace the use of ampersand with semicolon in CGIs
> seems difficult to achieve without breaking compatibility with the
> urlencoding format for HTML forms!  Can anyone find records of these
> issues being addressed during the HTML 4 specification process?

I think actually it is a problem with SGML, and its use of &xyz; as entity
specifier, being in conflict with the original URL specifications.  Given
that these things were created quite a long time ago (in web terms), I
don't think anyone is really to blame.  AFAIK, SGML came first, and so the 
real culprits are either those who chose to make HTML an SGML document,
or those who decided that '&' should be reserved in URLs.  These were
hardly disasterous decisions ;-).

It's a shame, admittedly, but there is always going to be a few awkward
cases when you try to mix escaping / delimiting styles - there are only so
many characters on the keyboard, after all ;-)

Ewan.
Received on Tuesday, 6 July 1999 10:27:33 UTC

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