Musing over Namespaces

Bill dehOra Wdehora at
Wed Dec 15 09:17:11 GMT 1999

   :  I started with the question: "Why isn't there namespaces
   :  in normal languages like English?"  A boring and divergent
   :  question.

I assume you mean 'natural languages'? Namespaces in natural languages would
be something like jargon, dialects or even idiolects.

   :  My answer was: massive fragmentation of society.
Like it's not fragged already.

   :  Is it really a 'good thing' to have namespaces in XML?  What
   :  ill effect will it have on XML's future?  Why can't the
   :  semantic of '<name>' be determined purely by context?  What
   :  is wrong with using just <html> to distinguish HTML's use of
   :  'a' tag?  Is the ability to inject attributes from other
   :  namespaces really useful?  What is the possitive effect of
   :  having just one namespace?  Why can't we have central
   :  registry of XML names? 

The semantics of <name> can't be determined by context because at the
moment, computers aren't good at context (that's why we do it for them by
giving them artificial namespaces). You can of course get a person to read
the mark-up and apply context to it.

As for a central registry, things like namespaces are perhaps best left to
evolve openly.


Bill de hOra 

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