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   Re: simple question on namespaces.

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  • From: Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com>
  • To: Arjun Ray <aray@q2.net>, xml-dev@lists.xml.org
  • Date: Fri, 29 Dec 2000 15:41:24 -0800

At 09:41 PM 28/12/00 -0500, Arjun Ray wrote:
>On Thu, 28 Dec 2000, Tim Bray wrote:
>> I think a helpful question is "What can you do with little chunks
>> of XML when they *don't* have names unique across the Net?"  The
>> answer is "Not much."
>What can you do with little chunks of XML when they don't have 
>meaning *shared* across the Net?  Not much, again.

OK.  But there are lots of ways to share meaning, starting from
emailing executables or source code around, ranging to universal
machine-processable semantic definitions in some future world, but
none of them work unless you can name things.

>> Hence, namespaces, and if all they ever did was provide names,
>> that'd be fine.
>Only to those who already know what those names mean.  


>In a public
>environment like the Net, where the point is to agree on and share
>definitions, a "controlled vocabulary" without a means to verify
>formal validity is magnificently useless.  

Now that's just silly.  There is no machine-processable definition
of the semantics of HTML or SVG or PostScript or PDF or JPG or
GIF or - you name it - but knowledge of how to deal with these
data formats is self-evidently shared; hence the requirement
for MIME technology to identify them.  A similar need exists for
chunks of XML, well in advance of us having technology to 
share definitions beyond the syntactic level. -Tim


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