W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > November 2009

Re: XHTML character entity support

From: John Cowan <cowan@ccil.org>
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2009 10:41:13 -0500
To: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Cc: David Carlisle <davidc@nag.co.uk>, public-html@w3.org, public-xml-core-wg@w3.org
Message-ID: <20091111154113.GB6506@mercury.ccil.org>
Henri Sivonen scripsit:

> XML is fragile *by design*! (Draconian error handling and making
> external entity loading permitted but optional. The real fix would be
> to move to XML5 with robust error recovery and no external entities.)

Unless every single possible sequence of bytes is a legal HTML5 document
with a fixed interpretation, HTML5 is just as fragile: it's just far, far
more complicated to specify and parse than XML is.  XML 1.x is complicated
enough: why on earth would we want to make it more complicated?  (I'm not
speaking for the XML Core WG here, but I suspect the WG would give a
similar reply if asked.)

A long time ago in a place called Cornell, there was a language named CORC,
in which all programs, however syntactically erroneous, were guaranteed to
run.  It even did spelling correction on the names of unknown variables.
(There are 6.5 Mghits for "HMTL", yet the HTML5 spec is not capable of
dealing with such a simple and common error sensibly.)  In context, it
made sense to do so, because it was an ancient punched-card batch system,
with 24-hour turnaround on execution, and it was only used to write dinky
student programs anyway.  Somehow, this trend didn't take over the world,
though.  Most programmers *want* draconian error handling of their code.

John Cowan  cowan@ccil.org   http://ccil.org/~cowan
It's the old, old story.  Droid meets droid.  Droid becomes chameleon.
Droid loses chameleon, chameleon becomes blob, droid gets blob back
again.  It's a classic tale.  --Kryten, Red Dwarf
Received on Wednesday, 11 November 2009 15:41:52 UTC

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