RE: Parsing without resolving entities
> Can anyone address the Why and include the perspective of a parser requirements writer / standards committee member?
In my view the problem arises because the architectural layering in XML isn't strong enough. There are different layers of protocol superimposed on each other and they aren't clearly separated. The XML spec makes an attempt to define a physical level and a logical level, but there's a single grammar that intertwines both, and there's no clear separation that says applications should work at one level or the other but not both. In consequence, there's a continuum from things the application doesn't care about (like character encoding), to things that it just might care about (character references), to things that it's quite likely to care about (entity references with semantic significance). Every processing model that's layered on top of XML has to make its own decisions about what details to expose to the application. If you expose too much, you make life awkward for people who don't care. If you expose too little, you make life awkward for those who do.
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