XML Blueberry Requirements raise controversy
13:29, 25 Jun 2001 UTC | Simon St.Laurent

The Requirements for XML Blueberry, "a limited revision of XML 1.0 being developed... solely to address character set issues," set off a firestorm of discussion on XML-Dev.

The XML Blueberry project addresses a growing gulf between XML 1.0 and Unicode:

"the Unicode Standard [Unicode] on which XML 1.0 relies has not remained static, evolving from version 2.0 to version 3.1. Characters present in Unicode 3.1 but not in Unicode 2.0 may be used in XML character data, but are not allowed in XML names such as element type names, attribute names, processing instruction targets, and so on. In addition, some characters that should have been permitted in XML names were not, due to oversights and inconsistencies in Unicode 2.0."

The proposal drew immediate fire from Elliotte Rusty Harold:

"This is a proposal for a new BACKWARDS INCOMPATIBLE version of XML. The specific goal is to address some shortcomings of the XML 1.0 character model relative to Unicode 3.1, as well as throwing a sop to IBM. The concern with respect to IBM is that one of the world's largest corporations, with thousands of patents, legions of programmers, billions of dollars in revenue, and resources pouring out of every orifice is somehow unable to handle documents where lines end with carriage returns and line feeds, as they do on every non-IBM system on the planet."

Some responses agreed with Harold, others saw a simple mismatch between Unicode and XML, and others saw a mixture. Tim Bray found that:

"This Blueberry issue is not a slam-dunk either way, it's a genuinely hard issue. Actually it's several genuinely hard issues in an unattractive package, namely:
  • the NEL character as a line separator
  • the proper relationship to Unicode
  • how to version XML"

In addition to ongoing discussion on XML-Dev, the W3C has set up a www-xml-blueberry-comments mailing list.

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