Re: New draft: charset, conformance cleanup

Gavin Nicol (
Tue, 4 Apr 95 10:34:10 EDT

>> By application convention, the SGML declaration is the one given in
>> section 13.2. Hence the document character set is ISO-8859-1(@@)
>> and the markup "*" represents an asterisk character.
>I'm not sure I agree with that. If it means "by default", it's OK,
>but otherwise it excludes anything but ISO-8859-1, which is

I think this represents current practise though: ISO-8859-1 is the
document character set, and use of all others is undefined. In the
latter case * may, or may not, represent an asterisk...

>Is it a good thing to have different defaults depending on the mode

This is not a major problem. As Dan pointed out, MIME specifies an
encoding, rather than a character set. Besides, ISO-8859-1 is a
superset of US-ASCII.

>> The SGML declaration of the document is a function of the charset
>> parameter. If the charset parameter is US-ASCII or ISO-8859-1, the
>> SGML declaration in section 13@@ applies. Other charset parameter
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>> values are reserved for future use.
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>This sentence needs to go, and be replaced by the former language that
>said that for other charsets, the SGML was to be minimally modified.

I agree that the sentence should be deleted, but I do not agree with
your last sentence. It should instead say that processing in the face
of other values is currently unspecified.

>> NOTE: A generalized convention for mapping charset parameter values
>> to SGML declarations is expected to be specified in a future
>> version of this specification.

This should probably be reworded slightly to simply say that in a
future version, processing will be specified in the face of arbitrary
charset parameter values.

>..for documents encoded in ISO-8859-1. Documents encoded in other
>character sets should use an SGML declaration as close as possible to
>this one, in order to preserve SGML conformance.

Again, I don't think we can say this for 2.0, because current systems
simply ignore this whole can of worms.

I should note that my paper will be sent out for review today, and
hopefully, I should be sending it to the list tomorrow or the day
after. I think it offers a reasonable solution to the problems, but I
do not see it as affecting 2.0 at all. My understanding is that 2.0
documents current practise, and that 2.1 will solve this, among other
problems, like tables.