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   Namespaces, schemas, and conformance

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  • From: David Megginson <david@megginson.com>
  • To: xml-dev <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>
  • Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000 20:29:46 -0500 (EST)

Sean B. Palmer writes:

 > Say I created a namespace for a language at http://infomesh.net/testns/
 > Then, on the Web, there are two different XML documents:-
 > 1. <roota xmlns="http://infomesh.net/testns/"/>
 > 2. <rootb xmlns="http://infomesh.net/tesns/"/>
 > Here, the root elements, (and possibly the enitre definitions of the
 > langauges!) are different, but they use the same namespace! Which one is
 > definitive?

You mean "which one is compliant" -- the documents can be definitive
only in their own domains.  The answer to your question is either,
both, or neither, depending on how well the documents conform to the
published specification for the Namespace.  If the specification says

  In this Namespace, either the roota or the rootb elements may be
  used at the top level ...

then they're both fine.  If the documentation says

  In this Namespace the roota element shall be used at the top level
  if the document is designed for non-profit purposes, and the rootb
  element shall be used at the top level if the document is designed for
  commercial purposes ...

then a human being is going to have to test conformance.  Even with a
schema, the documents have to conform to the published specification
to be compliant -- schemas can catch only a very small percentage of
conformance errors (they're a time-saving tool, not a silver bullet).

All the best,


David Megginson                 david@megginson.com


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