W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-forms-editor@w3.org > October 2009

Re: Semicolon better than ampersand as the default separator

From: John Boyer <boyerj@ca.ibm.com>
Date: Tue, 20 Oct 2009 09:47:59 -0700
To: Mark Birbeck <mark.birbeck@webbackplane.com>
Cc: Krzysztof Maczyński <1981km@gmail.com>, www-forms@w3.org, www-forms-editor@w3.org
Message-ID: <OF724EEECA.E57D4542-ON88257655.005AE74A-88257655.005C4A36@ca.ibm.com>
I agree with Mark, but he was quicker on the draw :-)

During the implementation phase, it was discovered that implementers 
by-and-large went with the current web default of ampersand when 
*constructing* URI parameters from instance data. We had to be responsive 
to that reality in order to exit CR. 

However, to Mark's point, because the change concerns what separator is 
used to *construct* the URI parametners, the only occurrence of the 
separator character is in the separator attribute.  So, changing the 
default to ampersand means you don't have to write an escaped ampersand 
into the XML markup of the submission in order to get ampersand 
separators.  You can express it if you want, but you used to be forced to 
write an escaped ampersand separator on pretty much every submission, 
which is why the implementation community generally did not go this way.

John M. Boyer, Ph.D.
STSM, Interactive Documents and Web 2.0 Applications
Chair, W3C Forms Working Group
Workplace, Portal and Collaboration Software
IBM Victoria Software Lab
E-Mail: boyerj@ca.ibm.com 

Blog: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/JohnBoyer
Blog RSS feed: 

Mark Birbeck <mark.birbeck@webbackplane.com>
Krzysztof Maczyński <1981km@gmail.com>
www-forms@w3.org, www-forms-editor@w3.org
10/20/2009 07:21 AM
Re: Semicolon better than ampersand as the default separator

Hi Krzysztof,

You are right that the ampersand needs escaping, but that is exactly
why it's a better choice as the default. With the change to XForms
1.1, authors only need to provide a value for @separator if the server
they are addressing uses semi-colons.



Mark Birbeck, webBackplane



webBackplane is a trading name of Backplane Ltd. (company number
05972288, registered office: 2nd Floor, 69/85 Tabernacle Street,
London, EC2A 4RR)

2009/10/19 Krzysztof Maczyński <1981km@gmail.com>:
> Dear WG,
> Pardon the cross-posting, but I'm not sure to which list this should go.
> In XForms 1.1 PR the default of the separator attribute was changed to 
ampersand. Semicolon is a viable and fairly common alternative whose main 
advantage over ampersand is that it doesn't need escaping in XML and SGML. 
 See also [1] and [2]. Worse even, authors often fail to escape it, which 
results in errors. I'd like to ask you to reconsider this change and I'd 
rather see it reverted.
> Best regards,
> Krzysztof Maczyński
> Invited Expert, HTML WG
> [1] http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/MatrixURIs
> [2] 

> (Not what you might expect having read that URI.)
Received on Tuesday, 20 October 2009 16:48:35 UTC

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