Re: partial draft: "Character Set" Considered Harmful

Amanda Walker (
Mon, 10 Apr 95 00:41:27 EDT

> Your proposal will make it impossible to use numeric character
> references without facing the risk of them having different meanings
> in different browsers, and you do not offer a single set of entities
> that cover most of the characters in use around the world today, so
> you also do not offer an alternative. That is incompatibility at the
> the most fundamental level of all: the character level.

Speaking as a commercial vendor of WWW
software, I'd like to see numeric character references dropped completely,
or, if they must be left in for "backward compatibility," be restricted to
interpretation as code points in ISO 8859-1. Anything else
results in ambiguity or combinatorial explosion. The only reason they
exist in the first place is that named character entities could not be
relied on in all browsers, and it was a "quick fix." I strongly feel that
while we may be constrained to supporting existing "quick fixes,"
extending them into a multilingual environment is a dire mistake.

I am also a strong supporter of the use of IS 10646 for similar reasons.

If we preserve absolutely all the characteristics of the status quo, then
the status quo is all we are left with, and we should all just go home.

I don't know about anyone else, but I for one find the status quo
quite unacceptable.

Amanda Walker
InterCon Systems Corporation