Why not PIs for namespace declarations?

Arjun Ray aray at q2.net
Fri Dec 24 05:49:33 GMT 1999

On Thu, 23 Dec 1999, Andrew Layman wrote:

> Clark Evans asks why PIs are not the mechanism for namespace
> declaration. That option was extensively debated during the design
> process (see the archives for details).

What archives?  The index at


does not carry the xml-sig list.  Even though that list has been defunct
for over a year, it's only W3C process rules or somesuch that "justify"
its non-publication.

Any number of questions and debates about namespaces on this list and
others could have been answered if not resolved with much less traffic had
the archives been available for scrutiny. 

> The short answer is that PIs do not have tree scope, so are unsuitable
> for modular document construction.

Um, no.  Check the archives for details:-)

As David Megginson writes:

: There are a lot of answers to this question, but in the end, the real
: argument was that PIs cause display problems in level-3 and level-4
: HTML browsers, and some influential parties [1] had a strong interest
: in being able to write HTML+XML documents that, by various sorts of
: lexical trickery, could still be displayed in XML-oblivious browsers
: like Netscape 3.

and David Brownell comments:

: More accurate is that certain person (or persons) disliked
: PIs extremely, if even a tenth of what I've heard is accurate.

Yep, a part of W3C Canon.  Keeping The Web Safe For Netploder.


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