Next Round

Tyler Baker tyler at
Thu Jan 21 03:54:55 GMT 1999

Bill la Forge wrote:

> Namespace Support
> --------------------
> Why not support Namespaces through a filter? Why put everything into a monilithic parser?
> If we have good support for filters, then we can have a reasonable scope for parsers and
> allow applications to configure their filters to meet their particular needs.

Well, if the namespaces recommendation was done intelligently, you could do exactly what you are
saying without bearing a major cost in processing efficiency.  Just one more reason why
"Namespaces in XML" should be scrapped and the W3C should have the courage to start over.  The
way things are currently defined, you pretty much have to do namespaces at the parser level.

This whole namespaces issue got me to thinking about a movie on HBO I saw a few weeks called the
Pentagon Wars.  It was about a general in the U.S. Army (Kelsey Grammer) who was in charge or
developing and procuring the Bradley fighting vehicle.  A colonel in the U.S. Air Force (the
actor who played Robin Hood in Mel Brooks' Robin Hood Men in Tights) was commissioned by
congress to test the safety and effectiveness of the Bradley fighting vehicle.  The entire movie
the general did whatever he could to sabotage the colonel's tests (the colonel was commissioned
to provide a level of interdpeartmental objectivity) so that the truth that the Bradley fighting
vehicle was an unsake hunk of junk would never be known.  The reasons for the general's actions
(as well as many others around him) was that he did not want to lose face professionally
considering that the United States had already spent close to 20 years and 20 billion dollars
developing this one weapon that did not even work (this movie was based on a true story that
occurred during the Reagan era).  Basicly the three-star general would never become a four start
general if Casper Weinberger (secretary of defense) ever found out that he had not succeeded.
Eventually of course someone would find out but not until he got his promotion and then it would
be someone else's problem even if there was a war with the Soviet Union and massive casualties
occurred in units who operated the Bradley fighting vehicle which had no armor, emitted poisoned
gas when hit (burning aluminum), and blew up entirely upon one hit from a small shell.

"Namespaces in XML" seems to be going down this path as no one will admit that it is a massive
failure.  We either bite the bullet and start over now, or else the entire world pays for it
later because a few people could not admit that their solution is less than adequate.  I
honestly pray the W3C does not operate with the politics of the Pentagon.  It is funny because I
have had many offline remarks that concur with my feelings, probably because these people are
afraid of retribution for not marching in lock step with a standards organization.  This reminds
me a lot of another general in "Pentagon Wars" who was secretly feeding the colonel information
about how crappy the Bradley fighting vehicle really was.  He was afraid that he would have his
reputation smeared if he did not just "go along with everyone else".

Nevertheless, everyone seems to be jumping on this grand bandwagon of eventual failure, so I
might as well jump on myself and say "see I told you so" when down the road people complain
about XML being too complex and too sloppy to deal with.  Since I am writing an XSL Processor, I
pretty much have a gun to my head on this issue on whether or not I support namespaces.  The XSL
draft says you must support "Namespaces in XML" so I have no choice but to swallow "Namespaces
in XML" while I am kicking and screaming.  Does anyone else here feel that "Namespaces in XML"
is being shoved down their throat?

SAX I feel is a success because it was a process of patience, objectivity, and non-political
action.  I just wish "Namespaces in XML" could share these same ideals.


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