W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > May 2003

Re: XHTML2 MIME type

From: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Date: Thu, 15 May 2003 20:14:24 +0300
To: www-html@w3.org
Message-Id: <AD088143-86F8-11D7-80D6-003065B8CF0E@iki.fi>

On Monday, May 12, 2003, at 21:51 Europe/Helsinki, Jelks Cabaniss wrote:
> Karl Ove Hufthammer wrote:
>>> I think getting rid of them is a good idea.

>> FWIW, I agree.
>> I do think character entities have *some* merit in *some*
>> applications, e.g. MathML, but in XHTML there are no need
>> for them.

Even in MathML they are only a workaround for inadequate input methods 
or the inability to deal with Plane 1.

> Except that removing them makes it exponentially more difficult for a 
> number
> of authors who want or need to stay within the ASCII subset of UTF-8.

Wanting to stay within ASCII makes no sense if you also want to 
represent Greek letters. As for needing to stay within ASCII, the 
receiving end doesn't limit you to ASCII, because conforming XML 
processors are required to be able to deal with UTF-8 and UTF-16. So if 
you need to stay within ASCII, you have an authoring tool problem, in 
which case the tool should be fixed instead of requiring the receiving 
end to make accommodations.

> Typing &Alpha; when you need it is a nobrainer;

What you type is between you and your editor. When I said getting rid 
of character entities is a good idea I meant what gets sent over the 
network. Processing external entities is a burden, which is why I 
consider character entities in XML (except for the ones predefined in 
XML) harmful in the Web context.

> having to look up the
> Unicode number for each non-ASCII character you enter is a *real* pain.

Again, you have a tool problem if you need to look up codes in order to 
input non-ASCII. For example, to enter the a capital alpha I can switch 
to the Greek keyboard layout and press shift and the key labeled "A". 
This is a no-brainer, because in the Greek layout alpha maps to the 
same key as 'a' in QWERTY. Or, alternatively, I could invoke the 
Character Palette, browse by Unicode blocks, click "Greek and Coptic" 
and double-click the letter alpha.

> There's the invariable "You need a better tool" responses,

Yes, this was a "You need a better tool" reply, because character 
entities are about working around authoring tool shortcomings.

Henri Sivonen
Received on Thursday, 15 May 2003 13:14:33 UTC

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