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Named character references (Was: preseving character

Subject: Named character references (Was: preseving character entities)
From: Geert Josten <Geert.Josten@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 2004 20:27:32 +0100
character reference

Rereading the (previous) thread, I re-noticed Davids remark that the term "named character references" came from the SGML world.

I was confused about it the first time as I _really_ thought that I had just read the term (literally minutes ago) on the HTML 4 rec page and had seen use of the term in the way I intended on mailing lists before. But I must punish myself for having misread the HTML rec on entities as it is talking about "named character _entities_" and the users on those mailing list that used that term wrongly should be punished for misleading me. 8|

Scrolling down the Google search result, I notice a remark about SGML named character references being things like &#SPACE;. David, if you just would have said that the term I used was referring to those kind of thing (by example), I wouldn't have been puzzled that much and wouldn't have had to bother you about it.. :P

As I wanted to achieve terminology that clearly define what one means, irrespectively whether a person is talking about SGML, XML, HTML or XHTML, I conclude this was not a good proposal. Even though, as David more or less sais himself, the SGML term is not commenly used these days any more and the actual confusion I caused in his mind (and would cause in mine from now on) is not likely to occur in minds of people who are not familiar with SGML. ;)

But after this lengthy thread, there still remain (official) terms that cause confusion as well. :-S

The actual point I tried to make is that people are using the official terms not very carefully and what I intended with my proposal was to encourage a more explicit way of telling what you mean. So instead of saying "entity reference", one could say "named character entity" (not "reference" ;) and instead of "character reference", one could say "numeric character reference". It is unlikely that people mistake the words 'named' and 'numeric', so if in future a person would start talking about 'numeric character entities', it is still clear that the person is actually talking about character references. While if a person posts a message to this list and starts talking about "character entities", at least a hand full of us gets confused whether he really means entities or (numeric) character references...

Phew.. Now I can finally sleep again... ;)

By the way, I don't recall the initial poster to have clearified himself on his meaning. Though I suspect that he meant character references as he seemed (more or less) happy with the us-ascii solution...

Cheers, Geert

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