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Re: [xml-dev] Pragmatic namespaces


The previous post was intended for the list overall (as is this post), the only flaw in mailman type architectures.

However, concerning your post, I agree strongly with you about the need to avoid namespace registries, which is the danger that I see in any "default" mechanism. It's potential to fragment the web is disturbing, especially as it effectively puts the decision about what technologies to keep or avoid solely in the hands of the browser vendors.

Overall, I'm going to raise this question again - what exactly is it about namespaces that the HTML crowd doesn't like? If it's the use of complex namespace URIs, then frankly the ideal solution to that is to provide guidance on what constitutes a good web URI. If it's the requirement of using prefixes, then an extension of Micah's pragmatic namespaces solution seems to be a good start, so long as there is a formal mechanism for insuring that ANY namespace can be introduced in this matter.

However, if it is simply a desire by a group of people (notably the WHATWG group) to control the standard at its most conservative, then nothing that the XML community does, no matter how well intentioned, will make any difference. This becomes a formal W3C matter (which it ultimately should be) - not Google, not Ian Hixie, not any of us here individually ... or has the W3C's focus on the Semantic Web blinded it to the fact that its initial, primary and ultimate mandate was to act as the custodian of the HTML standard?

I'm sorry about being harsh about this, but frankly the whole issue is beginning to piss me off. As far as I'm concerned, by allowing the HTML 5 process to move forward in the first place, there is an open, tacit admission that the SGML DTDs underlying HTML are once again open for modification. Maybe this is the time to incorporate namespaces into the formal DTD, since the DTD emerged before namespaces did. If a different notation is needed for backward compatibility, that's fine, but this unthinking idiocy of feeling that namespaces in some form should not be a part of HTML is just politics for the sake of control.

The language NEEDS an extension mechanism. There are more than 10,000 different XML vocabularies currently in existence at the present time, and HTML is still, far and away, the primary carrier for the bulk of them. The whole AJAX movement has the potential, with XBL or otherwise, to provide behavioral support for those extension elements, as appropriate, and without this philosophy in place, then we just see the unabated movement towards JavaScript becoming a morass of APIs that destroy the whole notion of declarative architectures.

I think we should pursue Micah's proposals, but frankly even at the Extensibility F2F in September it should ... it must ... include an open-ended extensibility model as an absolute minimum requirement ... and that the W3C should decide as a body whether it wishes to control the future of HTML or cede that authority to a handful of vendors. Because if it chooses to cede this point, then for all intents and purposes the XML movement is dead.

Kurt Cagle
Managing Editor

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