Re: Regular expressions should support \x{....} escapes

Bjoern Hoehrmann scripsit:

> >I fail to see how a conformance checker is supposed to know whether the
> >content is being publicly interchanged. I would think that most conformance
> >checkers are likely to give the user the benefit of the doubt, or at least
> >to provide options.
> I'd assume it'd look like
>   WARNING: Publicly interchanged content SHOULD NOT
>            use codepoints in the private use area.
> Educated users can then decide to ignore this.

Unfortunately, the uneducated will always outnumber the educated, and the
former group will take the warnings, intended to be helpful, as ukases from
the Tsar.  So it is that MAY becomes SHOULD, SHOULD becomes MUST, and MUST
hardens into unalterable dogmas.  Compiler writers strive to generate
more helpful warnings of the unusual, and programmers contort their code
to match rigid "guidelines" (really laws) that say "No warnings, ever".

A mere 80 years ago, H.W. Fowler threw out the tentative suggestion that
it might be useful in clarifying English prose if restrictive relative
clauses (those which restrict the denotation of the noun or pronoun
they are attached to, like this one) always began with "that" rather thna
"which", although the English language allows both.  As a consequence,
copy-editors in the U.S. now relentlessly hunt down all violations of
this "rule", like the one above, changing "those which" to "those that"
in violation of both common sense and euphony.  So it goes.

John Cowan
Half the lies they tell about me are true.
        -- Tallulah Bankhead, American actress

Received on Tuesday, 24 January 2006 15:33:30 UTC