Imminent death of Namespaces predicted (was: Namespaces are dead.)

David Megginson david at
Tue Jun 8 15:20:18 BST 1999

Rick Jelliffe writes:

 > If I have to change namespaces URIs to generate acceptable data for
 > different uses, then namespaces are not providing universal names
 > as they should.

No, Namespaces still provide a facility for universal names; that
said, the provision of a facility is easy, while the process of getting
people to agree to a single set of names is *very* hard.  For example, 
I can declare that (using James Clark's notation)


names an element or attribute referring a person; at the same time, can declare that


names an element or attribute referring to a person.  One can hardly
claim in any fairness that this is a breakdown in Namespaces -- it's a 
business problem that (with any scheme) can be solved only by the
long, laborious process of discussion, trial implementation, and
standardization.  Exactly the same problem could occur with
Architectural Forms or any other mechanism for naming or subtyping.

 > If both Microsoft and W3C have major applications that tie namespace
 > names to particular technologies, then we do not have the nice layers
 > that Dave sees: we have one layer limiting the previous layer.

Not at all -- Namespaces provide a universal naming layer, and RDF and
BizTalk present (incompatible) application-specific mechanisms for
using that information.  It might be nice to standardize higher
layers, but we'll have to see how things develop.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at

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