Semicolon better than ampersand as the default separator

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Semicolon better than ampersand as the default separator

Krzysztof Maczyński
Dear WG,

Pardon the cross-posting, but I'm not sure to which list this should go.

In XForms 1.1 PR the default of the separator attribute was changed to ampersand. Semicolon is a viable and fairly common alternative whose main advantage over ampersand is that it doesn't need escaping in XML and SGML.  See also [1] and [2]. Worse even, authors often fail to escape it, which results in errors. I'd like to ask you to reconsider this change and I'd rather see it reverted.

Best regards,

Krzysztof Maczyński
Invited Expert, HTML WG

[1] http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/MatrixURIs
[2] http://xmltoday.org/content/dancing-naked-streets-madman-takes-html-5#comment-2240
(Not what you might expect having read that URI.)

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Re: Semicolon better than ampersand as the default separator

Mark Birbeck-4
Hi Krzysztof,

You are right that the ampersand needs escaping, but that is exactly
why it's a better choice as the default. With the change to XForms
1.1, authors only need to provide a value for @separator if the server
they are addressing uses semi-colons.

Regards,

Mark

--
Mark Birbeck, webBackplane

[hidden email]

http://webBackplane.com/mark-birbeck

webBackplane is a trading name of Backplane Ltd. (company number
05972288, registered office: 2nd Floor, 69/85 Tabernacle Street,
London, EC2A 4RR)


2009/10/19 Krzysztof Maczyński <[hidden email]>:

> Dear WG,
>
> Pardon the cross-posting, but I'm not sure to which list this should go.
>
> In XForms 1.1 PR the default of the separator attribute was changed to ampersand. Semicolon is a viable and fairly common alternative whose main advantage over ampersand is that it doesn't need escaping in XML and SGML.  See also [1] and [2]. Worse even, authors often fail to escape it, which results in errors. I'd like to ask you to reconsider this change and I'd rather see it reverted.
>
> Best regards,
>
> Krzysztof Maczyński
> Invited Expert, HTML WG
>
> [1] http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/MatrixURIs
> [2] http://xmltoday.org/content/dancing-naked-streets-madman-takes-html-5#comment-2240
> (Not what you might expect having read that URI.)
>
>

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Re: Semicolon better than ampersand as the default separator

John Boyer

I agree with Mark, but he was quicker on the draw :-)

During the implementation phase, it was discovered that implementers by-and-large went with the current web default of ampersand when *constructing* URI parameters from instance data. We had to be responsive to that reality in order to exit CR.

However, to Mark's point, because the change concerns what separator is used to *construct* the URI parametners, the only occurrence of the separator character is in the separator attribute.  So, changing the default to ampersand means you don't have to write an escaped ampersand into the XML markup of the submission in order to get ampersand separators.  You can express it if you want, but you used to be forced to write an escaped ampersand separator on pretty much every submission, which is why the implementation community generally did not go this way.

John M. Boyer, Ph.D.
STSM, Interactive Documents and Web 2.0 Applications
Chair, W3C Forms Working Group
Workplace, Portal and Collaboration Software
IBM Victoria Software Lab
E-Mail: [hidden email]  

Blog:
http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/JohnBoyer
Blog RSS feed:
http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/rss/JohnBoyer?flavor=rssdw




From: Mark Birbeck <[hidden email]>
To: Krzysztof Maczyński <[hidden email]>
Cc: [hidden email], [hidden email]
Date: 10/20/2009 07:21 AM
Subject: Re: Semicolon better than ampersand as the default separator





Hi Krzysztof,

You are right that the ampersand needs escaping, but that is exactly
why it's a better choice as the default. With the change to XForms
1.1, authors only need to provide a value for @separator if the server
they are addressing uses semi-colons.

Regards,

Mark

--
Mark Birbeck, webBackplane

[hidden email]

http://webBackplane.com/mark-birbeck

webBackplane is a trading name of Backplane Ltd. (company number
05972288, registered office: 2nd Floor, 69/85 Tabernacle Street,
London, EC2A 4RR)


2009/10/19 Krzysztof Maczyński <[hidden email]>:
> Dear WG,
>
> Pardon the cross-posting, but I'm not sure to which list this should go.
>
> In XForms 1.1 PR the default of the separator attribute was changed to ampersand. Semicolon is a viable and fairly common alternative whose main advantage over ampersand is that it doesn't need escaping in XML and SGML.  See also [1] and [2]. Worse even, authors often fail to escape it, which results in errors. I'd like to ask you to reconsider this change and I'd rather see it reverted.
>
> Best regards,
>
> Krzysztof Maczyński
> Invited Expert, HTML WG
>
> [1]
http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/MatrixURIs
> [2]
http://xmltoday.org/content/dancing-naked-streets-madman-takes-html-5#comment-2240
> (Not what you might expect having read that URI.)
>
>