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Re: [xml-dev] RE: James Clark: XML versus the Web

On Wed, 1 Dec 2010 08:17:52 -0800, Rob Koberg wrote:
> Namespaces are fine (and extremely useful!) for dev users and end
> users (who usually don't see it). It was my understanding that
> namespaces are/were hard for the parser developers. The discussions on
> this list commingle the concerns of the parser dev, the xml dev and
> the end user so that the real concerns of the parser dev become
> adopted as proof for the others.


Since I started the subthread on namespaces, I feel compelled to 
reply.  Neither I, nor the various people that I have had to explain 
namespaces to, are parser developers.  We are developers, consuming and 
emitting XML.  I have internalized the bizarreness of XML 
namespaces--to some degree, in any event.  It's only when I have to 
explain them to a developer who just doesn't care, and just wants to 
get the job done, that I become aware of how bizarre the rules are.

<x xmlns="xyzzy">
  <y a="z">
    <z />

  <y a="z">
    <z />

Choose Joe Random Developer, and explain to them why each element in 
the first instance above is an entirely different element, with a 
different name, from the "obviously the same" element in the second 
instance.  Now, having explained the difference between elements in no 
namespace and elements with a default prefix, explain that the 
attributes are in no namespace for a completely different reason.

5) drink heavily

Now, I am *not* challenging that namespaces are useful.  It's just that 
they're broken, in several ways.  Perhaps I should post a "The Problems 
with Namespaces" thing.  And it isn't that they can't be made to work, 
it's that they're are either unintuitive or counterintuitive, and 
painfully difficult to explain to newbies.  I'm not a newbie; I tend to 
like them ... until I have to explain them to someone.


Amelia A. Lewis                    amyzing {at} talsever.com
Razors pain you; Rivers are damp; 
Acids stain you; And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful; Nooses give; 
Gas smells awful; You might as well live.
                -- Dorothy Parker, "Resume"

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