Namespaces: silly question

John Cowan cowan at
Fri Aug 7 17:38:33 BST 1998

Lars Marius Garshol scripsit:

> These documents are supposed to be processed in
> part by software written for IBTWSH documents, so Sral adds to his DTD
> the following declaration:
>   <!ATTLIST IBTWSH-root-element
>             xmlns:IBTWSH "" #FIXED>
> so that all IBTWSH elements will use the IBTWSH namespace by default.

The problem is all the worse in that IBTWSH doesn't have a root
element, being meant solely for embedding (there are no IBTWSH
*documents* as such; HTML serves that function).  I know you just
chose IBTWSH as a well-known example, but the problem's bigger
than you thought.

> Then, somewhere in one of his documents, Sral writes:
>   <IBTWSH:P>Huba!</IBTWSH:P>
> This is where the problems begin. (Well, they really started above,
> but it's easier to see here.) Srals validating parser can now do one
> of three things if it supports namespaces:
>   a) complain that the IBTWSH:P element has not been declared. (Which
>      is literally true: it was declared as P.)

Seems to me that it *must* do this in the name of SGML backward
compatibility.  The developers of namespaces don't seem to give
a red rubber rat's **** about DTD-based validation.

> In other words: as far as I can understand either DTDs must use the
> full namespace names in all declarations, as in
>   <!ELEMENT ...>
> (which is truly unreadable, and also not well-formed) or there must be
> some means by which a DTD can declare its namespace, which will of
> course be difficult since one may want to mix namespaces.

DTDs don't *have* namespaces under the new draft.  DTDs understand
prefixes only, without a clue as to what the prefixes might mean.

John Cowan		cowan at
	You tollerday donsk?  N.  You tolkatiff scowegian?  Nn.
	You spigotty anglease?  Nnn.  You phonio saxo?  Nnnn.
		Clear all so!  'Tis a Jute.... (Finnegans Wake 16.5)

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