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Re: XHTML character entity support

From: John Cowan <cowan@ccil.org>
Date: Mon, 9 Nov 2009 17:58:22 -0500
To: "Grosso, Paul" <pgrosso@ptc.com>
Cc: public-xml-core-wg@w3.org
Message-ID: <20091109225822.GL7704@mercury.ccil.org>
Grosso, Paul scripsit:

> This message started quite a thread, but I can't really figure
> out what the issue might be for XML Core or what kind of response, 
> if any, we should make.

Executive summary: Nothing for us to do here at all.

The thread is not only very tangled, but contains a lot of half-truths,
in my postings among others, alas.

The question, as best I can make out, is whether HTML5 user agents should
be required to process the DTD external subset for a certain fixed list
of standard XHTML 1.x DOCTYPE declarations.  If this is done, the standard
HTML entity declarations will become unconditionally visible in documents
with one of those declarations.  Of course, processing the external
subset does not imply actually fetching the external subset from the Web,
or even reading a local document containing it.  It suffices to know what
entity declarations would be in that external subset if you fetched it.

Some people seem to be under the misconception that such behavior is
non-conformant for a non-validating parser, and that NVPs are required or
expected not to process the external subset.  This is not true, of course.
Most browsers, however, when seeing a reference to an external subset they
do not recognize, simply treat it as a zero-length entity, thus forcing
the XML parser to treat entity references (other than the standard five)
as well-formedness errors.

In any case, the issue is particular to the handling of the XHTML 1.x
DTDs (there will be no XHTML5 DTD) by HTML5 UAs, and can and should be
left where it is.

Knowledge studies others / Wisdom is self-known;      John Cowan
Muscle masters brothers / Self-mastery is bone;       cowan@ccil.org
Content need never borrow / Ambition wanders blind;   http://ccil.org/~cowan
Vitality cleaves to the marrow / Leaving death behind.    --Tao 33 (Bynner)
Received on Monday, 9 November 2009 22:58:53 UTC

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