Namespaces, Architectural Forms, and Sub-Documents

David Megginson ak117 at
Wed Feb 4 17:34:27 GMT 1998

Chris Maden writes:

 > The problem (as I see it) is not one of including pieces of existing
 > documents, nor of structural validation.  The main reason for
 > namespaces is semantic inheritance.  I want to write a scientific
 > research paper quickly.  HTML has the overall document structure and
 > components that I need; MathML has equations; CML has chemical
 > formulæ.  I should be able to say that I'm using those things,
 > associate stylesheets, and have my browser know that <html:a> should
 > be styled with the "a" rule from the HTML stylesheet.

It seems to me simpler to create a compound document rather than to
try to force everything into a single XML document -- you can
reference another XML document the same way that you can include a
graphic or audio sequence.  Managing a lot of small objects directly
on the file system can be tricky, but it's trivial with proper tool
support (think of OLE under Windows, despite its warts)

 > It should be *possible* to create a DTD to which such a document
 > complies, but I am not as interested in automatic validation of a
 > namespace document.  The interrelational issues are, I think, too
 > complex to solve; in the example above, I would need to change the
 > text-containing HTML elements' content models to include chemical and
 > mathematical markup, and maybe allow HTML markup in MathML theorems.
 > Pushing selected information into the content models is too ugly.

Not at all -- you just need a single element type to hold references
to other XML documents.  You could even (though this is disgusting)

  <img src="equation1.xml">

All the best,


David Megginson                 ak117 at
Microstar Software Ltd.         dmeggins at

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