Undeclared namespace

Mark Birbeck Mark.Birbeck at iedigital.net
Mon Nov 1 21:20:50 GMT 1999

Andrew Layman wrote:
> Mark Birbeck, regarding the Microsoft MSXML parser handling of xmlns
> attributes in DTDs, wrote "This seems to be generally accepted as
> incorrect."  
> Scanning the archives will reveal that the interaction of 
> namespaces and
> DTDs is one in which every decision has drawbacks. Microsoft 
> took the most
> conservative position.  This may not have been the best course (though
> debate here on XML-Dev and elsewhere does not seem to reach a settled
> technical conclusion), but in any case, by virtue of being 
> conservative, it
> leaves open the possibility of loosening the handling in the 
> future if the
> least-problematic behavior becomes known, whereas the reverse 
> would not have
> been true.  

I was trying to respond to the other messages without re-opening old
wounds Andrew, but since you have ...

I seem to remember the only person who hadn't reached a 'settled
technical conclusion' was you. From my recollection of the debate no-one
was saying how grateful they were that a namespace attribute declaration
had to be #FIXED. The reason for that is obvious; every single DTD that
specifically declares a namespace attribute but doesn't use #FIXED will
cause a validation error. Yet there is nothing in XML 1.0 or the
namespace rec that indicates this should be the case. As is often
pointed out on this list, DTDs know nothing of namespaces. As far as
DTDs are concerned it's just another attribute. If the DTD designer
wants that particular attribute to always have the same value then
that's up to them to declare it, but it shouldn't be built into the DOM!

This whole 'conservative' and 'future loosening' thing is just rubbish.
You make it sound like a minor problem which may or may not be fixed in
the future. But don't you see that the consequence of your developers'
preference has made DTDs over which one has no control completely
unusable? The most significant for me are the three for XHTML.

Mark Birbeck

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