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   Re: Foreign Names

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  • From: Paul Prescod <paul@prescod.net>
  • To: xml-dev@xml.org
  • Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2000 07:37:12 -0500

"Steven R. Newcomb" wrote:
> ...
> It is still unknown how namespaces will actually support industrial
> communications, except where proprietary software determines, in a
> proprietary way, what constitutes syntactic conformance to the
> syntactic requirements of multiple independently-designed namespaces
> in the same document.  

It will forever remain unknown because the namespace specification does
not say that there is one true way. Rather, it allows you to choose. You
interpret this choice as bad because it offers the *opportunity* for
someone to choose not to use any formal mechanism at all. It was XML 1.0
that introduced the idea that some vocabularies would not have element
types, not namespaces.

If you DO want to validate the combination of multiple namespaces, there
are various ways to do so:

 1. DTDs. Use prefixes consistently. Use fixed xmlns attributes. This is
how MathML can be used with XHTML (though I feel that the details are
still not fully worked out)

 2. Schemas. Most of the schema languages are explicitly designed to
allow validation across multiple namespaces.

 3. Prose. XSLT documents routinely allow multiple independently
designed namespaces. The XSLT parts are validated by the various XSLT
engines in existence. 

There is a huge difference between saying that this is how the XSLT
namespace is typically *validated* and claiming that those software
products are the *definition* of XSLT. The XSLT specification is the
definition of XSLT.

> More: it's still impossible to make a single
> element be recognized as presumably conformant to a name in more than
> one namespace.  

That's true.

> Namespaces are still a paradigm that requires that
> there be a single monopolistic software vendor for each namespace.

That is not true. Who is the monopolistic vendor behind XSLT? MathML?

 Paul Prescod  - ISOGEN Consulting Engineer speaking for himself
It's difficult to extract sense from strings, but they're the only
communication coin we can count on. 
	- http://www.cs.yale.edu/~perlis-alan/quotes.html

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