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   namespaces as[?] resources

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  • From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
  • To: xml-dev@XML.ORG, xml-uri@w3.org
  • Date: Fri, 26 May 2000 13:43:59 -0500

At 12:06 PM 2000-05-26 -0400, Paul W. Abrahams wrote:
>David Brownell wrote:
>> The "XML Namespaces" specification is quite clear that the
>> purpose of a namespace "Universal Resource IDENTIFIER" is
>> identification, not location.
>> Were the purpose of those namespace URIs to be location
>> (as in:  dereference to get a schema) then the spec would
>> have used a "Universal Resource LOCATOR".
>> URIs are very fit for the purpose of identification.  And
>> that's the task/purpose identified in the namespace spec.
>> There's a clear line between identifying something ("my auto,
>> which has been stolen" -- it's got a Vehicle IDENTIFICATION
>> number [VIN] too!) and locating it.
>There's a difference between a VIN and a namespace name.  A VIN identifies a
>particular object such as your car.   A namespace name need not be associated
>with any object, real or virtual, at all.  The problem with URIs is that
>they're overloaded with an irrelevant significance, namely, identifying
>resources.   Any unique identifier would serve the purpose, and one with no
>connotations would serve it better.
>But I agree with your main point, which is that the purpose of namespace
>is not to locate anything.

[I am sorry for the tone of my last outburst.]

Identifying and locating have a life-cycle which is a genuine cycle.  Each
feeds on the other.

The actual problem here is that Tim sees an abstract thingie like a
namespace as appropriate to include within the range of possible values of
'resource' and you are assuming that a 'resource' is some particular object.

A view which may be close to what is driving Tim is that the fact that
<quote> a collection of [entity type and attribute] names have been set
aside, so that multiple instances of XML syntax may share processing by
identifying parts of their infosets with these names </quote>, is a
beneficial capability, a resource.  The identification of the [element type
and attribute] names as posessed of a relationship with certain classes or
methods of proper processing constitutes the resource.  A schema or other
dialect definition document or [open] collection [specified by a query] of
writings which collectively add knowledge about the proper processing of
the corpus of XML instances using these names is an articulation or
encoding of the resource; not the resource per se.

A namespace can't "not be a resource," if it is of any use at all.


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