Namespaces does *not* formally introduce "global attributes"

David Megginson david at
Thu Feb 4 15:47:45 GMT 1999

Oren Ben-Kiki writes:

 > >The namespaces spec introduces the concept of a "global"
 > >attribute, which doesn't exist in XML 1.0.
 > AHA! So the namespaces proposal _DOES_ go beyond simply qualifying
 > names with URIs!

No it doesn't.

The comment to which Oren is replying contains a common (but
understandable) mistake.  The normative part of the Namespaces spec
does *not* mention global attributes at all, so formally, they are not
part of the namespaces specification.

Non-normative appendix A.1 mentions "global attributes" descriptively,
as a commonly-observed design pattern in SGML/XML documents.  It's up
to the Schema WG (and other schema standard creators) to decide
whether there is such a thing as formal global attributes and if so,
how they should work.

The source of the misreading is the unfortunately obfuscatory appendix
A.2, which in general has caused an immense amount of unnecessary
confusion among implementors -- fortunately, A.2 is also
non-normative, so you're free to ignore it (I always have, and I
highly recommend doing so).  I will recommend dropping A.2 in future

In any case, what does all this have to do with transformation?

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at

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