SAX2: Namespace proposal

David Megginson david at
Wed Dec 22 17:57:22 GMT 1999

Simon St.Laurent writes:

 > At 01:50 PM 12/21/99 -0500, David Megginson wrote:
 > >That misses Tim's original argument, though -- he was arguing that
 > >people who don't want Namespace processing can use SAX1, and people
 > >who want it can use SAX2, and wondered (aloud) why there would be
 > >anyone who would need both in the same API.
 > Because switching from flat-head to Phillips screwdrivers is a big pain in
 > the neck, and I'd rather be able to flip the head of the thing over without
 > having to reach back into my toolbox (careful of that hacksaw!) and find a
 > different screwdriver when I'm working on a simple project.
 > Never mind using a screwdriver as a hammer - just don't make me use
 > different screwdrivers on similar projects or even wirhin the same project.

I think that James Clark's suggestion, which I've adopted (for now),
gives us a good multi-head screwdriver -- I just wanted to make
certain that Tim Bray's argument to the contrary was represented

I think that Tim's concern is a very good one: essentially, I'd sum it 
up like this:

  Any compromises that we make now for political expediency will stay
  long after the political need has passed.

OK, that's a little more portentious than anything Tim wrote, but he
knows whereof he speaks.  Remember the SML discussion from a while
back?  A lot of the stuff that people wanted to remove from XML is
stuff that people originally wanted for the same kinds of reasons that
people want the pre-Namespace stuff in SAX2.

Now SGML compatibility doesn't really matter any more (I wasn't at the
Philly show, but how much new SGML software was on the exhibit
floor?), but we're still stuck with DOCTYPE declarations,
less-than-useful attribute types (with varying whitespace-handing
rules), notations, unparsed entities, and a lot of other awkward stuff
that makes XML look at first glance far more complicated than it truly

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at

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