W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > February 2002

Re: lowercase XML languages

From: Christian Smith <csmith@barebones.com>
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2002 10:02:09 -0500
To: www-html@w3.org
cc: Robert Koberg <rob@koberg.com>
Message-ID: <20020224100209-a01050004-5c06ac86-0922-010c@>
On 2/24/02 at 6:02 AM, rob@koberg.com (Robert Koberg) wrote:

> Why are all the XML languages lowercase?

They aren't. XML is case sensitive so <foo> != <FOO> but there is no
requirement that entity, etc actually be lower case. It is true that
the various XHTML flavors so far have all defined tags using lower case.

> Up until I attempted to create XHTML I had a nice way to show HTMLers
> what was HTML and what was XSLT in an XSL stylesheet. The XSLT is all
> lowercase and the HTML is all upper case. They can quickly glance at
> the XSLT and see what they need to affect. By forcing me to use
> lowercase for everythinig you have eliminated this simple/basic
> separation of concerns.
> Is this decision arbitrary or are there reasons?

Well, XML is case sensitive so tags in XHTML needed to be defined
either in lower case or upper case. Obviously it would have been silly
(stupid?) to define the tags in a mixed case or to define some tags as
upper case and others as lower case. So either every tag needed to be
defined as lower case or every tag needed to be defined as upper case.

Hmm, flip a coin, heads its lower, tails its upper?

I dream that there were major battles in the XHTML group as they hashed
out whether to use lower or upper case tags. Lives were lost, villages
destroyed, reputations ruined, etc. Ok, it probably wasn't that bad and
I wasn't there so I wouldn't know.

There are good reasons on both side. UPPER case characters do stand out
better. Of course, this can be used as an arguement both for and
against using upper case characters. On the other hand, lower case
characters are easier to differentiate because the delta between
characters is greater (compare P and R versus p and r, etc).

Christian Smith  |  csmith@barebones.com  |  http://web.barebones.com

He who dies with the most friends... Is still dead!
Received on Sunday, 24 February 2002 10:02:05 UTC

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