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   More namespaces perversion

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  • From: Eric Hellman <eric@hellman.net>
  • To: xml-dev@ic.ac.uk
  • Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 12:45:40 -0400

David Brownell wrote:
>In summary:  all namespaces (ever) do is provide a layer of indirection.
>Their meanings change over at least time.  When you use namespaces you
>need to consider what that change will do to your applications.

It seems to me that the current NameSpaces draft adds TWO things to XML.

1. A layer of indirection is added.

2. A mechanism to associate XML elements with URI's is added.

It seems to me that not much attention has been paid to the things that can
usefully be done with that second function. After all, there is no role
specified for the Namespace URI.

But consider how different tools might make use of the Namespace URI.

If I were adding Namespace support to a structured editor, I'd present the
Namespace URI as a hyperlink button in my user interface - it's trivial to
do, can't hurt anything.

Now if I'm designing an XML DTD for use with that structured editor, it's
suddenly possible to use the Namespace URI's as a documentation mechanism.
I can get rid of all those unreadable comments in my DTD, and I document
the dtd using web pages attached to each element via the default namespace
attribute. This is particularly true in the latest draft, which allows  a
DTD author to specify default namespace URI's on an element-by-element
basis simply by adding fixed xmlns attributes (no prefixing required!)

I'm not saying this is necessarily a good thing to do, although it might
be. (There are a bunch of advantages to separating the documentation from
the DTD.) I'm just pointing out something that could result from widespread
adoption of the current proposal.


Eric Hellman
Openly Informatics, Inc.
http://www.openly.com/           Tools for 21st Century Scholarly Publishing

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