Musing over Namespaces

Don Park donpark at
Wed Dec 15 00:17:40 GMT 1999

David Megginson wrote:
>Let's say that we have an element- and attribute-name registery
>instead of Namespaces, and I register the element name "purchase";
>now, presumably, no one else can use that in a document type without
>my authorization (since a registry is pointless otherwise).

I was thinking more along the line of English dictionary which
allows multiple entries per word.  Each entry is qualified with
some XPath-subset.  Company-specific entries should be possible
if qualified with some proprietary information.

David Megginson wrote:
>Personally, I'd rather see a world with
>  {}purchase
>  {}purchase
>  {}purchase

My concern is that XML namespace standard seems to encourage
proliferation of proprietary tags such as the three 'purchase'
tags in your example.  With just three companies, we have three
different tags that basically means the same thing.

Of course, this sort of problems are usually 'fixed' retroactively
through the standardization process but such an approach has some
disadvantages such as:

1. we get caught up in the 'mess-up/clean-up/repeat' cycle.
2. resulting standards are likely to be much larger than
   per-word granuarity that spoken languages use.

BTW, thanks to everyone for contributing to this thread.


Don Park    -   mailto:donpark at
Docuverse   -

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