Why SAX needs namespace support

david at megginson.com david at megginson.com
Tue Jan 26 22:22:46 GMT 1999

Paul Prescod writes:

 > Namespaces only make sense in a world where you can more or less
 > randomly mix objects from different problem domains. That very
 > seldom happens in the document world. It would require some way to
 > dynamically assemble processing specifications (stylesheets).

Or, at a minimum, it would require application-specific rules for
dealing with unknown elements and attributes, similar to those in the
architectural forms spec.  For unknown attributes, it will almost
always make sense to ignore them; for unknown elements, there are
three useful options (other than choke-and-die or

1. Ignore the element and all of its descendants.

2. Ignore the element boundaries and process the content as if it were 
   part of the parent element.

3. Ignore the element boundaries and character content, but resume
   processing for any recognised descendant element.

As Paul points out, the RDF case is simple because (1) can be applied
universally; a technical manual or a web page is not so simple.

That said, not all document processing has to do with rendering and
publishing, even outside of the data world.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at megginson.com

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