This is an unofficial snapshot of the ISO/IEC JTC1 SC22 WG21 Core Issues List revision 112e. See for the official list.


248. Identifier characters

Section: _N2691_.E  [extendid]     Status: C++11     Submitter: John Spicer     Date: 6 Oct 2000

[Voted into the WP at the November, 2010 meeting as paper N3146.]

The list of identifier characters specified in the C++ standard annex _N2691_.E [extendid] and the C99 standard annex D are different. The C99 standard includes more characters.

The C++ standard says that the characters are from "ISO/IEC PDTR 10176" while the C99 standard says "ISO/IEC TR 10176". I'm guessing that the PDTR is an earlier draft of the TR.

Should the list in the C++ standard be updated?

Tom Plum: In my opinion, the "identifier character" issue has not been resolved with certainty within SC22.

One critical difference in C99 was the decision to allow a compiler to accept more characters than are given in the annex. This allows for future expansion.

The broader issue concerns the venue in which the "identifier character" issue will receive ongoing resolution.

Notes from 10/00 meeting:

The core language working group expressed a strong preference (13/0/5 in favor/opposed/abstaining) that the list of identifier characters should be extensible, as is the case in C99. However, the fact that this topic is under active discussion by other bodies was deemed sufficient reason to defer any changes to the C++ specification until the situation is more stable.

Notes from October, 2005 meeting:

The working group expressed interest in the kind of approach taken by XML 1.1, in which the definition of an identifier character is done by excluding large ranges of the Unicode character set and accepting any character outside those ranges, rather than by affirmatively designating each identifier character in each language. As noted above, consideration of this issue was previously deferred pending other related standardization efforts. Clark Nelson will investigate whether these have reached a point at which progress on this issue in C++ is now possible.

Additional note (May, 2008):

Issue 663 also deals with this appendix, and the proposed resolution there is to update the table to reflect the newest available technical report, ISO/IEC TR 10176:2003. That resolution might be seen as sufficient for this issue, as well. However, that approach does not address several of the concerns mentioned in the discussion above: coordination with WG14, the extensibility of the list of identifiers, the alternative approach used in the XML specification, etc.