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An XML neophyte asks the XML master, "What is a namespace?"
The master thought for a moment, and said: "It is a place where names
"How will I know a namespace when come upon it?"
"You will know it by its identifier."
And the student asked, "And what is the manner of this identifier?"
The master grew impatient. "You must read your books! The identifier is of
the format of a URI reference!"
"I'm so sorry, master. I will go back and study harder."
"Very well," says the master. "Tell what you discover."
A while later the neophyte comes back.
"I am confused, master."
"What confuses you, child?" asked the master.
"I came across a name in an XML document that was qualified with a namespace
"And what did you do then, child?"
"I looked for the namespace declaration which associated the prefix with the
namespace identifier!" responded the student.
"Very good!" said the master. "You have studied well! And did you find what
you were seeking?"
"Yes, I did." said the student.
"Then what confuses you, child?" said the master, perplexed.
"Well, once I had successfully resolved the prefix, I wanted to go further
and resolve the namespace URI. But all I got for my efforts was an 'Error
404 not found'."
"And why should that trouble you, dear student?"
"Well, if I cannot resolve the namespace URI, I cannot understand the nature
of the namespace, nor can I discover the names that belong to the
namespace!" said the student, upset.
"Ah, I see," said the master. "But why should that trouble you?"
The student, exasperated now, says "Master, how am I to know why the names
were qualified with a namespace, if the namespace hides the meaning of the
qualification? And even if I did know, though other means, the intent and
purpose of the namespace, how would be certain that any new names I chose
to add would not conflict with the usage and meaning of names already
residing in the namespace?"
The master smiled. "It is a fool who looks for perfection in the schemes of
even the wisest men."
And at that, the student became enlightened.