Re: <META NAME="..." CONTENT="...">

Ingo Macherius (
Fri, 21 Feb 1997 18:56:29 +0100 (MET)

Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: <META NAME="..." CONTENT="...">
To: (Misha Wolf)
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 1997 18:56:29 +0100 (MET)
In-Reply-To: <0157081721021997/A02656/REDMS2/11B2AC483800*@MHS> from "Misha Wolf" at Feb 21, 97 05:08:57 pm
From: Ingo Macherius <>

Meta is defined as
<!ELEMENT META - O EMPTY -- Generic Metainformation -->
        http-equiv  NAME    #IMPLIED  -- HTTP response header name  --
        name        NAME    #IMPLIED  -- metainformation name       --
        content     CDATA   #REQUIRED -- associated information     --

>    <META NAME="Author" CONTENT="Dave Raggett">

> 1. The field containing "Author" above.

> Is this field allowed to contain any characters other than "a" to "z", "A" 
> to "Z", "." and "-"?  I have been told that HTML 3.2 is less restrictive in 
> this area than HTML 2.0.  Is this so?  Was it so in some earlier draft?

The BNF Form for a NAME attribute is [a-z, A-z][a-z, A-Z, 0-9, -, .]*,
you forget the numbers. The [Goldfarb90], pp. 347.
Why you call this restrictive ? I am happy for any HTML attribute not to
be CDATA, as it eases handling with conforming applications.

> 2. The field containing "Dave Raggett" above.

> ISO 8879-1986 (SGML) appears to say that CDATA, unlike RCDATA, is not 
> allowed to contain entities.  Can anyone shed light on this apparent 
> anomaly, please?

You are right, but tell this to the sloppy Micro$cape people :) After all you
can't really work with the vanilla W3C-HTML3.2-DTD. Quirks like the above
require some editing, e.g. changing this to RCDATA. After all HTML is not
really a SGML language (it only pretends to be). BTW: CDATA may contain
anything, including entities, they are not expanded in this case :)
[Goldfarb90] on pp 342:
"In replaceable character data, all characters are treated as data characters,
except for those necessary to recognize a character or a general entity
reference, as well as the characters that would terminate the replaceable 
character data."

Virtually yours,

Snail : Ingo Macherius // L'Aigler Platz 4 // D-38678 Clausthal-Zellerfeld
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