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Re: PCDATA: possible error in XML spec

From: C M Sperberg-McQueen <cmsmcq@uic.edu>
Date: Tue, 5 Jan 1999 15:08:28 -0600
Message-Id: <199901052108.PAA51488@tigger.cc.uic.edu>
To: stefan@mintert.com
CC: xml-editor@w3.org, cmsmcq@uic.edu
>Date: Mon, 04 Jan 1999 16:14:56 +0100
>From: Stefan Mintert <mintert@irb.informatik.uni-dortmund.de>

>Dear XML editors!
>I have a question concerning the XML specification
>(http://www.w3.org/TR/1998/REC-xml-19980210): The literal '#PCDATA' is
>used in rule [51] "Mixed-content Declaration". But I can not find any
>explanation or definition for the term PCDATA. Does the spec contain a
>definition? If yes, could you please point me to the section.
>I have translated the XML spec into German and I missed a definition for
>PCDATA. To be not misunderstood: I do know what PCDATA means, but only
>because I have some SGML experience. I think a newcomer to XML won't
>know what PCDATA means, if he/she reads only the XML spec.

I agree that at least a brief note explaining the origin of
the term would probably be helpful.  I believe we avoided it in the
XML 1.0 spec because we were trying to eliminate, as far as possible,
the terminological difficulties most readers have with ISO 8879.
In this case, perhaps we went too far. (And since we use the terms
'parsed entity' and 'unparsed entity', a gloss of PCDATA as 'parsed
character data' would even make sense to some readers.  Sort of.
I don't want to get into a definition of 'character data' as opposed
to other kinds, though ...)

Thanks for your suggestion.

-C. M. Sperberg-McQueen
 Co-chair, W3C XML Schema Work Group 
 Senior Research Programmer, University of Illinois at Chicago
Received on Tuesday, 5 January 1999 16:09:26 UTC

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