Why not PIs for namespace declarations?

james anderson James.Anderson at mecomnet.de
Fri Dec 24 13:59:51 GMT 1999

Arjun Ray wrote:
> On Thu, 23 Dec 1999, David Brownell wrote:
> > What you're suggesting is that PIs be lexically scoped.
> > (That's what Andrew seems to mean by "tree" scope.)
> Especially "local".  The "requirement" that had to be met, apparently, was
> that the syntactic device announcing a "local" lexical scope had to be
> "locally" available itself (thus ruling out, e.g., stuff in the internal
> subset that would be indefinitely "far away".)

I surmise that "stuff" here refers to a PI which would have preceeded or
followed the respective element tag. If this was the reason which, in fact,
swayed the decision, the cited quotation obtains a remarkable irony.

> > And in fact, there's nothing in the world preventing the definition of
> > a particular PI from using lexical scope. One doesn't need all PIs to
> > work that way; only one.
> Yes.  There are only two natural scoping constructs in XML: elements and
> marked sections.  There was no consensus on how MS syntax could be
> extended (if at all), so the issue effectively became one of working with
> the element structure.  A PI pointing to an ID could have been enough.

As XML had, to that point in time, neither a storage nor a processing model,
any arguments regarding "natural" whould have been most suspect. A claim, for
example, that the present encoding does not place the encoding for the
namespace binding "indefinitely far away" from the encoding for the respective
element type depends on the presumption of a procesing structure akin to that
proposed in the recent strawman sax2. Namely one in which interning the type
name is deferred until the attributes have been read. A PI encoding with a
lexical scope covering the immediately succeeding element would not have made
this presumption.

> > I've no intention of reopening the debate on this topic (we're stuck
> > with attributes), but I've got this strange belief that truth should
> > be told, so I couldn't let this one slip by.
> On the archive we've been refered to for the details, it was quoted:
> "The making of laws, and of sausages, should be hidden from children"

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