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From: KOSSICK PAUL J CIV SA-ALC/LP <PAUL.KOSSICK@lpgate1.kelly.af.mil>
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 1999 14:40:30 -0600
Message-ID: <D075CA61FC72D111B1A300E029076E2EA73B79@lpfpo.kelly.af.mil>
To: www-html-editor@w3.org
	I'm trying to resolve an inconsistancy in the proposed standard for
HTML 4.0 cited below, and hope you can help.
	The problem comes from the statements concerning white space around
comment delimiters.  First, the statements seem only to refer to white
space, and neglect to specify whether any other sort of data (printable
characters, etc.) are permitted.  Further, there is no elaboration on WHY
white space is forbidden between the markup declaration open delimiter and
the comment delimiter, yet permitted for the close delimiters.  Is there
some reason for these restrictions?
	Finally, in the next section, an example clearly shows text and
white space (the ELEMENT declaration and associated values) between the
declaration and comment delimiters.  And still I can't think of a reason you
may WANT white space between the closing comment delimiters and the close
declaration delimiters.
	Is this the final specification for this standard?  Am I just
reading the text wrong?  To be frank, I've found most of the text very
confusing and tedious, and I'm definitely not a tyro when it comes to
telecom protocols and the Internet (I've been involved in the net since
before CERN released their first browser (read 'User Agent'...can't you guys
just say 'Web Client' like we used to?)).
	Just in case, NO, I haven't checked the errata sheet yet...my
sincere apologies if this is already covered there, but if you could please
respond to the general questions about clarity and the basis for some of the
specs, I would appreciate it.  Thank you in advance.

Paul J. Kossick

P.S.  I just checked the errata file, no mention of this question. -PJK


HTML comments have the following syntax: 

<!-- this is a comment -->
<!-- and so is this one,
    which occupies more than one line -->

White space is not permitted between the markup declaration open
delimiter("<!") and the comment open delimiter ("--"), but is permitted
between the comment close delimiter ("--") and the markup declaration close
delimiter (">"). A common error is to include a string of hyphens ("---")
within a comment. Authors should avoid putting two or more adjacent hyphens
inside comments. 

Information that appears between comments has no special meaning (e.g.,
character references are not interpreted as such). 

3.3 How to read the HTML DTD

Each element and attribute declaration in this specification is accompanied
by its document type definition fragment. We have chosen to include the DTD
fragments in the specification rather than seek a more approachable, but
longer and less precise means of describing an element's properties. The
following tutorial should allow readers unfamiliar with SGML to read the DTD
and understand the technical details of the HTML specification. 

3.3.1 DTD Comments

In DTDs, comments may spread over one or more lines. In the DTD, comments
are delimited by a pair of "--" marks, e.g. 

<!ELEMENT PARAM - O EMPTY       -- named property value -->

Here, the comment "named property value" explains the use of the PARAM
element type. Comments in the DTD are informative only. 
Received on Monday, 8 February 1999 15:39:55 UTC

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