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   Re: More on Namespaces (also long, but also optimistic)

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  • From: David Megginson <david@megginson.com>
  • To: xml-dev@ic.ac.uk
  • Date: Mon, 17 Aug 1998 11:38:41 -0400

Charles Reitzel writes:

 > o 	Namespaces
 > Namespaces are an inherently global construct and I can see no
 > reason why document writers cannot live with a single prefix per
 > global identifier within a document.  Put another way, element
 > level prefix declarations are simply not necessary.  They solve no
 > real-world problem and create many.  The original processing
 > instruction for declaring a prefix seemed fine.  If folks wish to
 > add default prefix scoping, well that is a great idea, but an
 > independent issue.

Some people imagine that parts of large XML documents will be
constructed by many subprocesses spawned by a master process.  These
subprocesses may need to declare and use their own namespaces -- the
thinking is that it would be unacceptable to require them to
communicate with the master process to negotiate a
namespace-declaration and prefix, so they must be able to declare
namespaces that are applicable only to the fragments under their

Personally, I believe that it makes much more sense -- and keeps XML
much simpler -- if each of those processes constructs a separate XML
document (still using namespaces) rather than chunks of the same
monolithic document.  The documents can be packaged before
transmission (in a JAR, a CAB, a zip file, or what have you), so there
is no additional HTTP overhead.

As I've mentioned before, the monolithic approach to XML documents
reminds me of computer programming in the 1970s ("function calls are
too slow; let's use goto instead!").  Hard-core developers already
learned these lessons the hard way -- the web community, which has
been clogging its arteries for a couple of years by repeatedly
cramming HTML, CSS, and Javascript into a single file, is about to
learn the same.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david@megginson.com

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