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[xml-dev] more on "subelement signicance"

In an off-list conversation with John Cowan, he had suggested that it was
entirely possible to look for an <xhtml:a> if you were aware of the
namespace, regardless of what the document actually was.  In return, I
argued that the knowledge of the namespace was a sort of validation process
that told you more about the element than the element itself tells.  In the
end, I came up with the following statement:

    "The usefulness of any given subelement is directly proportional to the
the knowledge of its context.  This can either be through an understanding
of the namespace the element is in or by an understanding of its
relationship to its parent element."

In response, John noted:

    "No.  Usefulness may require *some* context or *full* context, depending
on the meaning of the element and the purpose of looking for it. 'Directly
proportional' is far too strong a claim."

He did, however, more or less agree with the second sentance.  So taking
this into account, what about the following "improved" statement?

   The usefulness of any given subelement is due to the knowledge of its
namespace, document type, and/or parent element.  Without any of the three,
the subelement does not have a useful meaning.


Seairth Jacobs