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Re: Processing Instructions, not Magic Comments

From: Arjun Ray <aray@q2.net>
Date: Mon, 2 Jul 2001 00:55:21 -0400 (EDT)
To: www-talk@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.21.0107020031090.30622-100000@info.q2.net>
On Sun, 1 Jul 2001, Ian Hickson wrote:
> On Sun, 1 Jul 2001, Arjun Ray wrote:

>> Other than giving the pope heartburn, what's wrong with a processing
>> instruction?  (That's what they were invented for, after all.)
> 
> Pages that comply to the Appendix C guidelines can't contain them.
> (They're not tag-soup-compatible, apparently.)

Well, it's pretty clear that Appendix C is a crock.  Even so, C1
simply says "Be aware that processing instructions are rendered on
some user agents".  This is an historical inadequacy of the kind that
anyone stil using a browser of such vintage can't but be prepared for
some things not to um, work.  

Besides, the xml declaration has the lexical form of a PI.  To take C1
as you're suggesting would imply that this construct should *also* be
avoided.  Wonderful!

In short, raising the spectre today of PIs "failing" is a very lame
excuse, a copout.

One of the major divisions pf Dr. Goldfarb's _The SGML Handbook_ is a
"Structured Overview of SGML", which goes over the alphabetically
ordered definitions of ISO 8879 Clause 4 in a separate, logically
coherent order.  Section 4.2.3 "Other Markup" (p.138ff) has this:

: 4.2.3.3 Processing Instruction
:
: Finally, as war is to diplomacy, there is the last resort of
: descriptive markup:
: 4.234 processing instruction:  Markup consisting of system-
: specific data that controls how a document is to be processed.

What is the argument not to use standardized markup for its intended
purpose?


Arjun
Received on Monday, 2 July 2001 00:40:02 GMT

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