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BOMs (Was: Re: [Json] JSON: remove gap between Ecma-404 and IETF draft)

From: Pete Cordell <petejson@codalogic.com>
Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2013 10:05:07 -0000
Message-ID: <C37B2FE59C164DBCA982AC81A56A09AA@codalogic>
To: "Martin J. Dürst" <duerst@it.aoyama.ac.jp>, "Henry S. Thompson" <ht@inf.ed.ac.uk>
Cc: "John Cowan" <cowan@mercury.ccil.org>, "IETF Discussion" <ietf@ietf.org>, "JSON WG" <json@ietf.org>, "Anne van Kesteren" <annevk@annevk.nl>, <www-tag@w3.org>, "es-discuss" <es-discuss@mozilla.org>
Given the history below, would it be sensible to accept BOMs for UTF-8
encoding, but not for UTF-16 and UTF-32?  In other words, are BOMs needed
and/or used in the wild for UTF-16 and UTF-32?

Maybe the text can say something like "SHOULD accept BOMs for UTF-8, and MAY 
accept BOMs for UTF-16 and / or UTF-32"?


Pete Cordell
Codalogic Ltd
C++ tools for C++ programmers, http://codalogic.com
Read & write XML in C++, http://www.xml2cpp.com
----- Original Message ----- 
From: ""Martin J. Dürst"" <duerst@it.aoyama.ac.jp>
To: "Henry S. Thompson" <ht@inf.ed.ac.uk>
Cc: "John Cowan" <cowan@mercury.ccil.org>; "IETF Discussion"
<ietf@ietf.org>; "Paul Hoffman" <paul.hoffman@vpnc.org>; "JSON WG"
<json@ietf.org>; "Joe Hildebrand (jhildebr)" <jhildebr@cisco.com>; "Anne van
Kesteren" <annevk@annevk.nl>; <www-tag@w3.org>; "es-discuss"
Sent: Thursday, November 14, 2013 11:14 AM
Subject: Re: [Json] JSON: remove gap between Ecma-404 and IETF draft

> Hello Henry, others,
> On 2013/11/14 18:44, Henry S. Thompson wrote:
>> John Cowan writes:
>>> Joe Hildebrand (jhildebr) scripsit:
>>>> If 404 doesn't allow [a BOM], I don't see a strong need to add it.
>>>> Parsers can always be more forgiving of what they will parse than what
>>>> the spec says, particularly since section 9 says "A JSON parser MAY
>>>> accept non-JSON forms or extensions".
>>> It's not clear that 404 disallows it, since 404 is defined in terms of
>>> characters, and a BOM is not a character but an out-of-band signal.
>> I think this is a crucial observation.
> Yes, and I think it's based on the experience with XML. But while this
> experience may be applicable to JSON, Anne's original comment about the
> BOM and XMLHttpRequest suggests that 404 actually currently does not
> tolerate a BOM, and that implementations (except for XMLHttpRequest) also
> don't.
> To give some historic background, the BOM for UTF-8 wasn't in the first
> edition of XML (http://www.w3.org/TR/1998/REC-xml-19980210#sec-guessing).
> It only later came in because Microsoft used it for notepad to be able to
> quickly distinguish between UTF-8 and the legacy system encoding. Because
> many people were writing some XML by hand, and some of them were using
> notepad, the pressure on XML to accept a BOM at the start of an UTF-8 file
> mounted, and it was included in the second edition of the XML
> Recommendation (http://www.w3.org/TR/2000/REC-xml-20001006#sec-guessing).
> Compared to XML, JSON may be much less edited by hand, or much less edited
> on notepad, or otherwise just have a different history from XML, but we
> have to make sure.
> Regards,   Martin.
>> I note that XML approaches
>> this problem in what might be a useful way.  The XML ABNF makes no
>> mention of BOM, it's not part of any XML document as such.  But it
>> _is_ allowed.  The relevant wording [1] is:
>>    Entities ... may begin with the Byte Order Mark described by Annex H
>>    of [ISO/IEC 10646:2000], section 16.8 of [Unicode] (the ZERO WIDTH
>>    NO-BREAK SPACE character, #xFEFF). _This is an encoding signature,_
>>    _not part of either the markup or the character data of the XML_
>>    _document._ XML processors must be able to use this character to
>>    differentiate between UTF-8 and UTF-16 encoded documents. [emphasis
>>    added]
>> ht
>> [1] http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-xml/#charencoding
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Received on Monday, 18 November 2013 10:06:10 UTC

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