What is a namespace ... really?

Chris Maden crism at oreilly.com
Fri Jan 15 18:41:34 GMT 1999

> I have been closely monitoring (with great interest!) all the
> discussion arising from my question on what is a namespace.  It
> seems that people have differing ideas on what it is. I would like
> to try to summarize the points of view, and add my own two cents.

It may be just that I'm in camp (1), but I think the spec falls apart
if you treat the namespace URI as anything other than a magic cookie.
That is, this namespace is the same as that namespace iff their URIs
are identical.  The files at two different URIs may be the same, but
that does not make the namespaces identical; the same URI may return a
randomly selected collection of Keats's works to each request, but two
namespaces using it are the same URI.

In XSL, a pattern matches an element if the URI of the pattern's
element's namespace in the stylesheet matches the URI of the element's
namespace in the document, and if the rest of the element type matches
exactly.  This allows styling of documents with namespaces; processing
with special-purpose applets could be handled similarly.  No further
comparison can meaningfully be made in any reliable way; it requires
further definition from the WG, which may well not be forthcoming.

<!ENTITY crism PUBLIC "-//O'Reilly//NONSGML Christopher R. Maden//EN"
"<URL>http://www.oreilly.com/people/staff/crism/ <TEL>+1.617.499.7487
<USMAIL>90 Sherman Street, Cambridge, MA 02140 USA" NDATA SGML.Geek>

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