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Re: Semicolon after entities

From: Bjoern Hoehrmann <derhoermi@gmx.net>
Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2007 11:25:02 +0200
To: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Cc: www-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <s01u23lin3is3cedt2u6njip4aootblrvu@hive.bjoern.hoehrmann.de>

* Ian Hickson wrote:
>On Wed, 25 Apr 2007, Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
>> 
>> If you first specify a requirement on documents (always use ";") and 
>> then specify mandatory error processing related to it (browsers must 
>> recognize entity references without ";"), then you have effectively 
>> defined the error as a feature, though a deprecated one. But you can 
>> proclaim that you have now defined a stricter version of the language. 
>
>No, if you say something is non-conforming, it's non-conforming. Whether 
>the error handling is defined recovery, reverse-engineered undefined 
>recovery, or a fatal error has no effect on how strict the language is. 
>The language's strictness is up to its conformance criteria.

Jukka compares two things, saying one can be seen as stricter than the
other. You on the other hand measure the strictness of only one thing,
which makes your argument unfit to refute Jukka's point, much like not
quoting Jukka's smiley and ignoring qualifiers like "effectively", both
of which admit some laxness in the argument, while you attempt to show
an absolute truth.

In the study of formal languages "strictness" is used to describe the
relationship between expressive power and syntactic freedom in the
context of comparable languages or expectations (Canonical XML 1.0 is
stricter than XML 1.0; a format that insists on LF line endings is
regarded as strict as we expect to be able to use CR LF endings aswell).

Jukka is simply playing on the concept of having two notions of
syntactic freedom: what is accepted as proper, and what is accepted as
equivalent; no one would argue <p>&ouml</p> and <p>&ouml;</p> have
different textual content; if your only concern is correct interpre-
tation of your document, you are free to use either form.

In the context of the "WHATWG" proposal, WHATWG member David Baron re-
cently pointed out that using non-conformant tag soup is a reasonable
transition strategy for authors trying to gradually migrate from con-
formant HTML4 to conformant WHATWG HTML; on that ground alone I think
it is unfair to claim error handling requirements do not affect
syntactic freedom and therefore do not affect strictness.

It is either acceptable to use non-conforming markup in which case we
may study error handling when deciding about strictness, or it is not
acceptable to use non-conforming markup, in which case the WHATWG can
not point to error handling to dismiss transition strategy concerns.

In conclusion, the disagreement seems to be about the meaning of the
term "language" where Jukka's definition appears broader than yours,
since he includes processing details while you reject that idea. In
that case it is not useful to point out what follows from your defi-
nition, but rather what your definition is, or making your point using
different terminology. By your definition WHATWG HTML would be about
as strict a language as XML 1.0; I don't think that view is widely
held on this list; if that is indeed so, your definition is not useful.
-- 
Björn Höhrmann · mailto:bjoern@hoehrmann.de · http://bjoern.hoehrmann.de
Weinh. Str. 22 · Telefon: +49(0)621/4309674 · http://www.bjoernsworld.de
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Received on Wednesday, 25 April 2007 09:25:05 GMT

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