SAX2: Namespace proposal

David Brownell david-b at
Tue Dec 21 18:06:01 GMT 1999

David Megginson wrote:
> Tim Bray writes:
>  >
>  > Is there an application scenario where you get
>  >
>  > <a xmlns:a="" xmlns:b="">
>  >   <a:foo /><b:bar />
>  >   </a>
>  >
>  > ...and you actually care that the foo and bar had different prefixes?
>  > I'd find that really hard to believe.

Anything that is, to use Tim's term, "namespace oblivious".

Which essentially means all XML software written to date,
as well as anyting written using the widely available
namespace-oblivous APIs -- an issue that'll take some time
to fix, since when namespace-aware APIs become moderately
available in six months or so, developers still won't be
using them all that widely.

> Yeah, I do too, but so many people (some from big companies) have
> sworn up and down on every holy book in Creation that they need that
> kind of thing -- and managed to convince the DOM WG to include it in
> DOM2 -- that I simply have to assume myself (and Tim) wrong.

It's the distinction between new code and old code.  XML isn't a
"clean slate" design any more, it's got to deal with some history.
One of them is that a DOM L2 implementation MUST NOT (!!!) break
existing applications -- L2 is there to add features, not sacrifice

If XML 1.0 had included namespace there would be no backward
compatibility issues in this area.  (There are lots of other
areas to worry about though!)  But with over two realtime years
of lag betweeen the XML 1.0 spec and the DOM Level 2 spec, there
is a significant chunk of code that must still work.

- Dave

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