Why SAX needs namespace support

david at megginson.com david at megginson.com
Tue Jan 26 15:55:40 GMT 1999

Michael.Kay at icl.com writes:

 > > "Namespaces in XML" seems to be going down this path as no 
 > > one will admit that it is a massive failure.
 > I agree with you that "Namespaces" is technically inelegant, it
 > also has the problem of being incompatible with a lot of other XML
 > things. Unfortunately, though, I think it is doomed to succeed.

I agree.  

I also object strongly to the inelegance of attribute-based namespace
declarations and to the unnecessary complication of local namespace
scoping (which, like optional external-entity expansion in XML 1.0,
tries to solve a straw-man problem that turns out not to exist in any
serious way anyway).

That said, my customers couldn't care less -- they need the ability to
provide globally-unique names that their software can disambiguate
from other people's names, and for that purpose, XML Namespaces turns
out to be useful far beyond initial expectations, warts and all.

The nicest part is that the utility of namespaces does not depend on
any fancy, yet-to-be-written schema support for compound documents --
for an enormous number of applications, it's enough just to be able to
identify a globally-unique name.

Despite my initial pessimistic predications (some of you might
remember that I also predicted the imminent death of Linux back around
1992 because of its monolithic kernel architecture), I am now
confident that namespaces will succeed, and want some kind of
namespace support in the next version of SAX.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at megginson.com

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