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

David Megginson david at
Wed Jun 9 15:30:19 BST 1999

Rick Jelliffe writes:

 > What has it has it got to do with business or discussions? Any
 > application family (stylesheets, schemas, etc) which does not have
 > a mechanism (like the stylesheet PI) to allow plurality of
 > alternate technologies (like CSS, XSL, DSSSL) ties its names into a
 > specific technology.

There's a many-to-many relationship between names and processes.  I
can take names from, say, the XHTML namespace, and process them any
way I want.

 > W3C needs to make it standard procedure to define PIs (in whatever
 > syntax) to allow this plurality.

I think that would be a little sloppy -- I strongly dislike mechanisms
that force the document itself to specify how it should be processed
(and I include the stylesheet PI in that list).

 > Everytime there is a major application family with no accompanying
 > mechanism, it subverts the intent and use of namespaces. Instead of
 > providing universal names, it provides application-specific names.
 > Do you see the difference?

Not at all -- the names are universal, and the processing applied to
them is application specific.  Consider, again, the XHTML <a> element.

Q. What does it represent?
A. A thing known as 'HTML anchor' (or {}a).

Q. How do you process it?
A. Any way you want:
   1. Render it underlined and in blue.
   2. Allow fielded searches to find specific words in its content.
   3. Recursively index the document referred to by its 'href'
      attribute, if any.
   4. Traverse a unidirectional link.
   5. Generate a loud BEEP on the user's console.
   6. Typeset the contents, and generate a footnote containing the
      value of the 'href' attribute, if any.
   7. Ignore it.
   8. Use a synthesized voice with a different pitch to read it aloud.

Should I have a PI present to link to some sort of action sheet for
each of these, and for 1,000 other processes that I could think of?

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at

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