Colonialism, SAX, Java, and Namespaces

David Megginson david at
Fri Feb 5 17:27:23 GMT 1999

Paul Prescod writes:

 > Namespaces are an infrastructure technology. You use them THROUGH
 > something, like RDF. Without something like RDF they are
 > essentially useless. So unless you think that "RDF" is for the
 > "average developer", namespaces are not for the average
 > developer. When/if something like RDF takes off that situation may
 > change.

I (politely) disagree again -- there are many applications that can
take advantages of namespaces without an RDF-like infrastructure.
Here are some examples:

1. Search engines (i.e. find every mention of "Megginson" in an
   element named {}developer).

2. Browsers (i.e. set any occurrence of
   {}keyword in monospaced type for all
   document types, unless overridden by a more specific rule).

3. Localization transformations (i.e. attempt to read the contents of
   every element with an attribute named
   {}currency as a number and convert it to the
   local currency if possible). 

All of these (and many more) can be applied to typical human-readable
documents with mixed content; they're not limited to RDF-like

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at

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