asterisks as bold or italic? (another push)

Lou Quillio public at
Tue Mar 30 18:42:29 EST 2004

On Mar 30, 2004, at 5:41 PM, Timothy Binder wrote:

> I hadn't realized that XML only had the five entities. That explains 
> the use of decimal-encoded entities in SmartyPants. (I'm with the 
> folks who miss the larger entity set. It seems like the geeks winning 
> over the users.

No need to miss named symbol entities; even the W3C's XHTML1 DTD 
defines them (by reference to HTMLlat1.ent, HTMLsymbol.ent, and 
HTMLspecial.ent, I believe).  But if your content is re-purposed as 
straight XML -- say, as an RSS feed -- you'll have to provide your own 
mappings for mnemonic entity names like —.  Right now, the W3C 
XHTML DTDs reference the HTML DTD, which references files containing 
the entity name mappings to UNICODE.  And Web browsers are very liberal 

So right now it's just practical:  embedding only numbered entities in 
your content will keep your RSS feed from breaking.  Your content 
system _might_ transform these before writing your XML file, but most 
don't.  Your content system _might_ embed a reference in your XML file 
to a DTD that defines the common named entities, but most don't.  You 
could do it yourself, but most don't.

It's just a little hairy still, is all, and there's a shooting holy war 
over how liberal the popular interpreters of popular XML content (like 
feed readers and RSS) should be.  Most are very strict, and refuse 
mal-formed XML altogether.  When somebody's feed goes dark in your RSS 
reader but their site's not down, it's almost always because your Web 
browser abides a character or two that your RSS reader chokes on.

Makes everybody sad and confused.  Embedding numbered entity references 
in the content erases the issue.  It's just easier, not "correct."

(Thanks again to Jelks for refreshing me on this crap.)

> I can see caps>>emphasis in print>>SHOUTING, if that's what you have 
> in mind -- it's a natural progression -- but underscore?



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