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   Re: [Fwd: ATTN: Please comment on XHTML (before it's too late)]

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  • From: Ann Navarro <ann@webgeek.com>
  • To: Paul Prescod <paul@prescod.net>, xml-dev <xml-dev@ic.ac.uk>
  • Date: Sun, 29 Aug 1999 10:26:30 -0400

At 08:35 AM 8/29/99 -0400, Paul Prescod wrote:

>This is from Eliot Kimber (<eliot@isogen.com>):
>Namespaces were intended to solve the problem of *name collision*, which
>they do. But they explicitly do not have anything to do with binding
>names to semantics and therefore you are *never* justified in infering
>semantics from namespace use.

This is where I think namespaces were "under-done". But I do take exception 
to the statement that they "explicitly" do not have anything to do with 
binding names to semantics.

The spec does say "It is >>not a goal<< that it be
directly usable for retrieval of a schema (if any exists).",

 >>emphasis mine<<

but it doesn't say that it *must not* be used for that purpose. The spec 
was ambiguous enough in it's concrete application (beyond abstract 
grouping) that the world is indeed running forward to bind things. Indeed, 
there is significant disagreement even in the upper levels of W3C about 
whether a namespace can bind to a schema or DTD (one to one, or even one to 
many), so this question is hardly resolved. Whether the job of binding was 
something that should have been done by the namespaces spec or another spec 
is a bit of a side-argument. It seems clear to me that there is a need that 
is currently unfilled, so it's occurring outside the W3C recommendation space.

>[But what is looks like to me is that the really have three different
>*DTDs* (or rather, architectures) for the same base names. If this is in
>fact the case, then the XHTML authors have inappropriately confused name
>spaces with DTDs and they should fix that.

No, we've not confused them. We happen to have three 'flavors' of XHTML 1.0 
(the first deliverable from the XHTML project, not the end sum of our 
work), that essentially map to the three flavors of HTML 4.0. Each of them 
was assigned a namespace that corresponds in title to the three flavor 
names. We do not mistakenly confuse their DTDs for their namespaces. (nor 
are we limiting XHTML to the use of DTDs, Schemas, as has been pointed out, 
'isn't soup yet')

>NOTE: I have no opinion on XHTML's use or non-use of multiple name
>spaces. It is entirely irrelevant to the usability or processibility of
>XHTML documents.

Wanted to reiterate that one.

Ann (speaking only for herself, and not the W3C HTML WG)

Ann Navarro
Author: Effective Web Design: Master the Essentials
Buy it Online!    http://www.webgeek.com/about.html
Owner, WebGeek Communications   http://www.webgeek.com
Vice President, HTML Writers Guild   http://www.hwg.org

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