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Re: i18n-ISSUE-411: Definition of whitespace should come from Unicode

From: Eric Prud'hommeaux <eric@w3.org>
Date: Sat, 7 Mar 2015 06:05:29 -0500
Message-ID: <CANfjZH300A2ozSuunfs-y=HgjET_qfv8nR4e0NOinghw17ZFdA@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Asmus Freytag (t)" <asmus-inc@ix.netcom.com>
Cc: public-ldp-comments@w3.org, Andrew Sullivan <ajs@anvilwalrusden.com>, cowan@ccil.org, Steven Atkin <atkin@us.ibm.com>, John Cowan <cowan@mercury.ccil.org>, www-international@w3.org
On Mar 7, 2015 9:04 AM, "Asmus Freytag (t)" <asmus-inc@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
> On 3/6/2015 11:26 PM, Eric Prud'hommeaux wrote:
>> On Mar 7, 2015 2:04 AM, "Andrew Sullivan" <ajs@anvilwalrusden.com> wrote:
>> >
>> > On Thu, Mar 05, 2015 at 10:38:01PM -0500, John Cowan wrote:
>> > > No, since you ask.  We use Unicode, but we don't require that every
>> > > non-printing character be recognized as a delimiter.
>> >
>> > What I worry about is inconsistent handling of whitespace across
>> > implementations.  But anyway, I guess this isn't really the place to
>> > fix that up, since it'd be all over XML anyway, right?  (I guess I'm
>> > just sensitive to this right now because the IETF tried to do clever
>> > things with paring down Unicode to things we wanted, and it isn't
>> > working quite as we'd hoped.)
>> I suspect that whitespace is pretty consistently treated as the four
control codes this point. In 2006 I tried a more inclusive definition of
whitespace in SPARQL but folks said "what the hell is this? Everybody knows
that whitespace is four characters." Had things like non-breaking,
zero-width, all-singing space stayed in SPARQL, parsers would have required
multi-byte lexers and the interoperability of incomplete implementations
would have suffered.
>> The downside is that someone typing in some script with its own
whitespace (does that exist?) must use ASCII space, but they have to
anyways because all of the language keywords are in ASCII.
> For programming languages, sticking to the basic set for syntax purposes
makes a certain amount of sense.
> When you are dealing with text data, or free-form input, this approach
can be unnecessarily limiting.
> All the markup languages have the issue that both language syntax and
text content reside in the same "plain-text" file, leading to complicated
rules about which whitespace characters are part of the text content and
which are to be ignored for text purpose for being syntax characters.

I completely agree with your analysis.

> However, Andrew's point is well taken - it's important to not let the
programmer's attitude infect those parts of whatever protocol is being
designed that are concerned with representing full-text data. It better be
possible to not only represent all space characters (and zero width
characters), but to have them act on the text in the way they are defined
in Unicode when segmenting text for whatever purpose.

That makes sense to me. I think that both XML and RDF are languages upon
which such applications would be built. In a sense, the only way they can
screw up would be to not permit non-ASCII whitespace characters. Do you

> A./
>> > A
>> >
>> > --
>> > Andrew Sullivan
>> > ajs@anvilwalrusden.com
>> >
Received on Saturday, 7 March 2015 11:05:59 UTC

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