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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.
http://gbiv.com/protocols/uri/rev-2002/rfc2396bis.html#collected-abnf

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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