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Re: XHTML2 MIME type

From: John Lewis <lewi0371@mrs.umn.edu>
Date: Wed, 14 May 2003 12:38:03 -0500
Message-ID: <24266511546.20030514123803@cda.mrs.umn.edu>
To: www-html@w3.org

Karl wrote on Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 4:02:52 PM:

> If you *regularly* use the alpha character, it's ~no more difficult
> to remember &#945; than &alpha;[1].

Surely you jest. Named entities are plainly easier to remember because
their names are closely tied to the characters they reference. The
numbers have no obvious relation. If you want a copyright symbol or
trademark symbol, all you need to remember is &copy; or &trade;, not a
number. There are exceptions, but they're exceptions. (Ahem.)

There are also clear patterns in the naming. If you know the uml and
grave and acute and circ suffixes, you can construct all the vowels
and their accents without memorizing unrelated numbers. The character
references are much more useful in the real world.

> And, if you *don't* regularly use the alpha character, you would
> have to look it up anyway.

That's patently untrue. The named entities follow a (nearly) logical
pattern. I regularly use only a handful of the named entities, but I
can use a great many without looking them up, and without having them
memorized. I know exactly zero numeric entities without looking them

I know almost all the Greek letters, but I don't use any of them on a
regular basis. I can remember because the naming scheme is simple.
They go alpha, beta, gamma, delta, and so on. If the name is all
lowercase then it's a lowercase character, and if the name has an
initial capital then it's an uppercase character. I don't even know
the order of the entire Greek alphabet, but I can reference every
character I know the name of. Most of the other characters have
similarly easy to remember names. I would know none of the numbers
without looking them up. Even if I did, I'd be hard pressed to
associate that many numbers with that many characters.

John Lewis
Received on Wednesday, 14 May 2003 13:47:58 UTC

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