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- To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Date: Wed, 09 Aug 2000 16:53:46 -0400
Norman Walsh commented on my previous post (qutoed by Winchel 'Todd'
Vincent, III) -
> | Presumably, it would mean "If this fragment had been embedded in a valid
> | structure according to its own DTD, this fragment would not cause the
> | structure to be invalid."
> | This sounds like a tall order for a processor to understand, and also a
> | order to describe in a DTD. It's funny, though, isn't it? All us humans
> | know pretty well what it would mean: e.g., if we put in an <html:h2>
> | element, we want a processor to display an h2 heading at that point **as
> | if** it were an html document. It's the formal aspect that's tough.
> I don't, in fact, agree that it's easy for humans to understand. Given:
> <html:h2>Is a Big Fat Idiot</html:h2>
> I have no idea what that H2 means. It doesn't mean display an H2 heading,
> it *can't* mean that because the author isn't displayed at all, it's
> just metadata that's associated with the document. Now I have a document
> with unintelligable metadata. I'm totally confused.
I see I simplified too much to try to make a point. Let me try again.
Seems to me that the only reasons to include elements from other namespaces
in a document are 1) to reuse the same element names, like <h2>, but flag
them as having some different meaning - which is a matter for the processor
to handle -, or 2) to use some properties that usually belong to that other
namespace. Ideally, perhaps, those properties would be semantics, but in a
real XML document, all we can really get is the syntax.
If I insert an h2 element from the html namespace, presumably I want some
html property - probably processor behavior - to accompany it. Otherwise I
wouldn't bother. For the example of including, say, contract elements
within a civil pleading (as some people have been talking about), I
presumably want to bring in the exact agreed-on semantics that go along with
the "contracts" vocabulary. This is really a matter of semantics (or
ontology, if you like to look at it that way), but in xml, semantics is a
matter for the processor, not the parser. If we get the syntax right,
perhaps there is some hope that the semantics are appropriate as well.
So is a namespace really a glorified processing instruction that has a
scope? Anyone care to tackle that one?