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Re: definition of "character"

From: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2003 17:12:29 -0500
To: Mike Brown <mike@skew.org>
Cc: uri@w3.org
Message-Id: <1064614349.2697.318.camel@dirk.dm93.org>

On Fri, 2003-09-26 at 08:52, Mike Brown wrote:
> Yet nowhere is "character" actually defined.

Nor is 'point' defined in geometry.

The URI spec is much more concrete than geometry
in that the characters are enumerated explicitly.

i.e. you want to know what a character is? 'a' is
a character, as is 'b' and so on, and there aren't
any others.

>  I don't feel that
> the disclaimers regarding syntax notation are adequate to impress
> upon the reader that a character is an abstract unit in a written
> language, rather than a relatively concrete data type that manifests
> as octets, as so many readers of this spec probably believe. The many
> perceptions of character are discussed at length in section 3.1 of
> http://www.w3.org/TR/charmod/, although that document seems to stop
> short of settling on a canonical definition for the W3C's purposes.
> (Martin, care to comment?)
> Early in section 2, I think you should at least make an attempt
> to define "character", as used in this spec, for the sake of the
> masses who are not used to distinguishing between the various levels
> of abstraction covered in UTR#17.

While I don't think this is necessary, I don't suppose
it would hurt. But suggesting that the editor "should at
least make an attempt to define..." is, as far as I can tell, less
effective than offering suggested text. I would guess
that Roy has attempted to draft text that makes everybody
happy some hundreds of times (hmm... thousands, if you
count the HTTP spec too); I wouldn't be surprise
if he scans messages for suggested text and deletes
those that don't have any summarily.

Dan Connolly, W3C http://www.w3.org/People/Connolly/
Received on Friday, 26 September 2003 18:12:30 UTC

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