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   XML Base (RE: [xml-dev] Article: Keeping pace with James Clark)

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Elliotte Rusty Harold wrote:
> Only xml:base could arguably 
> be claimed to be at the semantic level, and even that is less 
> semantic than xml:lang.

I think it's time to take a long hard look at XML Base and question
whether this spec:

a) is useful
b) is necessary
c) belongs in the "XML Core"

On (a), I think XML Base is useful for people too lazy to type complete
URIs.  Why exactly those people are typing their XML directly (i.e.
there's no app to fill in their URIs for them) when they're that lazy is
beyond me.  For these people XML Base ensures that they don't have to
worry about moving documents from point A to point B and having all the
links break.  They can also save a few bytes of redundant information,
though again why they'd be concerned about that when they're using XML
is beyond me.

On (b), I think the answer is quite plainly NO. XML Base is never
necessary.  You can always type out URIs, and you can even do a
search-and-replace if necessary.

On (c), I think we have some enormous problems.  XML Base by itself
provides a base URI, but it's up to the application to figure out how to
use that information.  The XML Infoset prescribes no particular handling
for this information or combination with URIs, and the XML Base
specification itself states that:
The deployment of XML Base is through normative reference by new
specifications, for example XLink and the XML Infoset. Applications and
specifications built upon these new technologies will natively support
XML Base. The behavior of xml:base attributes in applications based on
specifications that do not have direct or indirect normative reference
to XML Base is undefined.
The Infoset has some fine language about "computed according to [XML
Base]", but it's hardly clear how this metadata is to be applied - or
represented, in the case of document fragmentation, for instance.

It would be nice to keep such frivolous bits out of the XML Core, I
Simon St.Laurent
Ring around the content, a pocket full of brackets
Errors, errors, all fall down!


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