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Q&A

What is a standard definition (or a CS theory based formal definition) for Escaping?

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I personally would define "escaping" in software development in general and coding in particular as follows:

Making an exception to match data which otherwise would not be allowed to be matched:

If a program is generally not allowed to match some character/s, such as single and/or double quotes than we make an exception by "escaping" such character/s to be matched (as well as data they wrap, if there is any).

My problem is that I am not sure if this definition is broad enough to cover all possible "escaping" scenarios.

What is a standard definition (or a CS theory based formal definition) for escaping (if there is one and it's not mere abstraction)?

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The term escape sequence apparently dates back to the telegraph and pre-computer technology, according to wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escape_sequence.

So I doubt there's an universally relevant definition of the term. I would guess that the term, in the scope of computer science, originates from C, UNIX and AT&T. The C language (5.2.1) makes this formal definition of an escape sequence:

In a character constant or string literal, members of the execution character set shall be represented by corresponding members of the source character set or by escape sequences consisting of the backslash \ followed by one or more characters.

This definition covers the use of escape sequences in C and various languages inherited from C, but not necessarily all uses of escape sequences in all languages.

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