Musing over Namespaces

Steve Baty steve at
Wed Dec 15 01:02:47 GMT 1999

>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.


Although I agree to a certain extent that xml tags could conform to a
dictionary-style approach to registration, is there any real benefit to this
approach when each definition for a particular element requires additional
information such as "some XPath-subset" and "some proprietary information".

Why not just reference the namespace in the registered definition?

On a slightly different note, if I were to register an element such as
"purchase" which had child elements "card_type", "product_id" and "price"
how would I differentiate these child elements from somebody else's elements
of the same name? If each element in the registry had a namespace
declaration I could follow the thread of the element def'ns fairly easily.

The main problem I see in the registry approach, albeit
registry-as-dictionary, is that there would need to be some way to
differentiate between "my" "purchase" element, and the one that, say, a
stockbroker might use to define a request for shares "purchase".

The way I see it, what you are proposing would look something like:
purchase: i) element, sun microsystems, attributes:approved (true|false),
child elements (payment_type,delivery_address,...)
ii) attribute, foo_bar corp, element:transaction;


Now, how might I, looking at this defn, determine who's defn of
"payment_type" I should go and look up? Perhaps instead of a dictionary
we're really talking thesaurus!?

I suppose the point is: if you need to include company-specific and XPath
information into the definition in the registry in order to identify which
element we're "really" talking about, why not use namespaces?

Steve Baty
Technical Designer
Red Square Productions
steve at
Ph: +612 9519 4599
Fax: +612 9519 4699

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