Paul Boddie paul at boddie.net
Mon Jun 23 17:41:52 CEST 2003

Erik Max Francis <max at alcyone.com> wrote in message news:<3EF6D5DD.15420D8F at alcyone.com>...
> Paul Boddie wrote:
> > Indeed. The assertion that "7-bit plain text ASCII" is even a
> > meaningful format is highly dubious, at least when it comes to
> > understanding the information presented in that format.
> 7-bit ASCII is pretty clear, it's just ASCII (which only defines the
> lower 7 bits).

Well, aside from the occasional need to remind people that ASCII
doesn't include various "accented characters", I think we're agreed
that as an encoding ASCII is fairly unambiguous. However, as the basis
of a format, it obviously isn't anywhere near as comprehensive as XML
(which clearly addresses the issue of structure in documents
explicitly and extensibly). The term "plain text ASCII" (as has been
used in this discussion) is a fairly ambiguous format description in
itself if you consider the structure of documents in that format, but
even if we were to focus on things like "restructured text", I would
argue that XML is more generally applicable, although that assertion
seems to be the cause of many "XML is useless" debates.


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