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Subject: Re: [office] ISO 14977 EBNF grammar

I have to say that I am with David on this one. The lack of a range
operator and the wide use of W3C EBNF make it very justifiable that we
use that standard instead.


On Wed, Apr 30, 2008 at 5:47 PM, David A. Wheeler <dwheeler@dwheeler.com> wrote:
> > My point is that you can use ISO 14977 to define a range operator and
>  > the Unicode characters that you want to use with it.
>  Sure.
>  But then you're not using the standard as it is; you're using a nonstandard extension.
>  Better to use a standard notation that _has_ a range operator.
>  > See: http://www.open-std.org/jtc1/sc22/wg11/docs/n506.pdf, for example.
>  > (It uses ISO 14977 to define a range operator.)
>  No it doesn't.  I looked at that spec.
>  Section 5.1 describes the EBNF; it has NO range operator in the EBNF
>  metalanguage.  Which is expected, because it's using ISO's EBNF.
>  It also doesn't use ranges where it'd be obvious to do so, e.g.,
>  note that 7.1 (which uses the EBNF metalanguage) has to list each character,
>  instead of using a range, because the EBNF has no range operator.
>  Now it's true that 8.2.1 talks about a "range" operator, but this is
>  NOT a range operator in the EBNF notation.
>  That section is using EBNF to define a range operator in the language
>  the spec is defining. That does NOT give a "range" operator
>  to the EBNF itself; the ENBF continues to lack a range operator.
>  Yes, this could be worked around by using prose definitions, set unions
>  and differences, and defining many more nonterminals.
>  But I see no need to use those hacks.
>  ISO has accepted other standards that use the W3C/XML BNF notation, and
>  I think we have a good technical reason for using W3C/XML BNF: lack of ranges.
>  The much shorter/simpler resulting spec is in my mind a good justification too.
>  Clearly W3C/XML is itself defined in a standard, one which is available for
>  all to use and was developed by a wide consensus. Heck, I suspect ISO
>  has ratified it (if so, you'd think it'd count as an ISO standard too).
>  {Heck, ISO is willing to ratify a specification that is explicitly incompatible with
>  the Gregorian/ISO 8601 calendar, so using ISO standards even when they
>  clearly DO apply is obviously not THAT important ;-)  ;-)  ;-).  }
>  --- David A. Wheeler
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