[whatwg] Comments on Web Forms 2.0

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Thu Jan 6 09:38:37 PST 2005

On Tue, 28 Dec 2004, fantasai wrote:
> Ian Hickson wrote:
> > On Tue, 28 Dec 2004, Henri Sivonen wrote:
> > 
> > > According to http://www.unicode.org/faq/utf_bom.html#38 a data 
> > > format or protocol may choose to ignore the BOM in the middle of a 
> > > string.
> > 
> > HTML doesn't choose that, though, so that isn't relevant to us.
> It would be if the HTML document in question passes through a processor 
> that takes advantage of this allowance. You could of course encode it as 
> a numerical entity.

The processor would be at fault. HTML as a format doesn't have that 
allowance, so you can't just drop the BOM anywhere.

> > > Anyway, I'm still uncomfortable with using a deprecated character 
> > > that has a very special other meaning as a magic marker in WF 2.0.
> > 
> > I'm not overjoyed with it myself, but I haven't got any better ideas. 
> > The current system works quite well, and certainly works better than 
> > the "[]" prefix that I first suggested.
> That's questionable. At least the [] was visible so you could tell it 
> was there.

That was the main problem with it -- it didn't have a good backwards 
compatibility story. The BOM has a pretty good backwards compatibility 
story -- the worst that can happen is that it gets dropped, which is 
exactly what we want to have happen.

> I have a strong suspicion that editing invisible characters is more 
> error-prone than editing visible ones. And the idea of a disappearing 
> invisible character seems like it would be a bit bizarre to explain to 
> the average person.

This entire feature is not one that is likely to be used by the average 
author. For those who are likely to use it, they are almost certainly 
going to be using script to generate the files, and in those scripts the 
characters will almost certainly be escaped.

And at the end of the day you can, as you point out, always just use the 
NCR to insert the character.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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