why distinctions within XHTML?

Simon St.Laurent simonstl at simonstl.com
Mon Aug 30 21:21:41 BST 1999

At 02:21 PM 8/30/99 -0400, you wrote:
>At 02:05 PM 8/30/99 -0400, Simon St.Laurent wrote:
>>Assuming that the WG has a clear, though unstated, roadmap for integrating
>>its usage of namespaces with future XML schema developments seems like a
>>very bad idea indeed.
>Wait a minute, nobody has said that. How does the HTML WG have the power to
>"integrate" it's uage of namespaces with someone else's work product? 

Mark was suggesting earlier that those namespaces would provide information
connected to schemas.  This does not appear to be a good assumption, which
is most of what I was saying.  However, it doesn't seem like the HTML WG
has really explained why it wants three namespaces, how (if) those
namespaces should be used in conjunction with validation, and what possible
value those namespaces might provide (beyond the DOCTYPE declaration) in
the future.

It does seem like it would be reasonable for the HTML WG to integrate its
product with the Namespaces in XML recommendation by providing an explicit
statement of how it plans to use namespaces and what the reasoning behind
that usage of namespaces looks like.  There is no explanation of that
reasoning in the present draft - just an announcement of three namespaces
(3.1.1-3) and a brief example of non-conformant integration with MathML

Also, the Future Directions area (section 6) would be a good place to
discuss plans for working with the schema WG, if indeed there are such
plans.  Document profiling is a tool that would be useful anywhere in XML;
it doesn't seem like these directions are expliciting limited to work that
only relies on the HTML WG itself.

>This is where assumptions lead to alot of misinformation and assertions
>that the sky is falling. 

The sky isn't falling - it's just that it's hard to tell (from out here)
whether the sky is clear or cloudy, and whether it's raining or snowing.
It's not clear on what grounds namespaces are being assigned or how they
should be used.  Given that lack of information, it seems reasonable to
proceed cautiously - and critically.

>We can certainly sit here and poke sticks at the process, but it's what we
>have to work with right now. Within this process, it is a given that
>non-participants and non-member-employee individuals won't have direct
>access to the drafts that haven't yet been made public. I don't think we're
>really here to argue the appropriateness of that right now. 

The W3C's closed process is unfortunate.  However, that doesn't mean that
outsiders should read drafts under the assumption that 'future drafts will
fix everything', which appeared to be the drift of your earlier comments.  

If the W3C wants meaningful public comments, it has to be prepared to deal
with comments from those of use who don't have access the full set of
background information locked away in members-only areas.  Saying 'trust
us' isn't enough.  It requires explanation of underlying assumptions, at

It would also help to identify where these outside comments should go, as
do most of the XML drafts...

>But that lag in information dissemination shouldn't be a platform for leaps
>in assumption either. The people working on these things aren't stupid --
>nor are they unaware of conversations like this one, in this forum and in
>many others. 

Indeed - they shouldn't be a platform for any assumptions, as stated above,
including assumptions of magical integration with future schemas or a
better world coming with the next revisions.

Now I have to go back and forward a bunch of these messages to the official
W3C areas... hopefully we've beaten this issue enough already.

Simon St.Laurent
XML: A Primer (2nd Ed - September)
Building XML Applications
Inside XML DTDs: Scientific and Technical
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