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Re: simple question on namespaces.

On Fri, 29 Dec 2000, Tim Bray wrote:

> At 09:41 PM 28/12/00 -0500, Arjun Ray wrote:
> >On Thu, 28 Dec 2000, Tim Bray wrote:

>> 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 

"Controlled vocabulary" != "semantics"

(Just like "declaration subset" != "document type definition" :-))

Whether a "word" is in a "vocabulary" does not need a semantic
explication to be decidable, or does it?  (Even if it does, I quesion
whether this is true for all domains, i.e. a necessary generalized
view of the problem.) 

I've already quoted the examples involving ForgleBurp/Farglebarp et
al, but let me repeat one passage:

: Either the NS URI must *always* points a formal definition of the
: vocabulary (not schema) of the name space so that you (and your
: processors) can reliably examine that definition to validate that
: names you've encountered are really in the vocabulary

> or - you name it - but knowledge of how to deal with these data
> formats is self-evidently shared;  

Indeed.  A lot of the time we don't inquire into the exact details of
how the knowledge came to be shared; rather we proceed from the fact
that the knowledge *is* shared.  That is, it's a no-go without the

> hence the requirement for MIME technology to identify them.

MIME types are much like notation declarations actually (and the usual
association of system-ids for notations with processors thends to
strengthen the likeness.)

> A similar need exists for chunks of XML, well in advance of us
> having technology to share definitions beyond the syntactic level.

Well, this is the type assetion problem that Eliot Kimber, among
others, have been ranting about for years.


(More and more I'm convinced that the first three paragraphs of the
XML-Names spec harbor a whopping non-sequitur, never mind that there
was never a point to the first example in A.1 that I could ever