ATTN: Please comment on XHTML (before it's too late)

James Tauber jtauber at
Thu Sep 2 15:54:54 BST 1999

----- Original Message -----
From: Kay Michael <Michael.Kay at>
> I seem to recall, at the time Namespaces was being debated, a lone voice
> saying that of course namespaces should be hierarchic rather than
> single-level. Shame that noone listened.

I confess I don't recall seeing this. But you may have noticed I suggested
something similar in two recent posts. My idea was that you basically allow
namespace URI matching on prefixes. So if you are interested in whether
something is XHTML (but don't care about version) you match on
"", but if you care about version you match on
something like "".

Perhaps this is what was originally suggested back during the first
namespace war.

Actually the current XSLT draft does something similar (see 2.5), but I
don't know whether it will make it into the REC.

Mind you, hierarchical organisation isn't that good a general solution as it
forces you to prioritise axes. If you choose to make it possible to
underspecify for strictness you can't then make it possible to underspecify
for number, for example. From what I recall, that's why feature structures
(at the time used in phonology) were introduced into syntax in the 1950s.

James Tauber / jtauber at /
Maintainer of :, and
<pipe>Ceci n'est pas une pipe</pipe>

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