an unfilled need

Ann Navarro ann at
Sun Sep 5 21:57:05 BST 1999

Through several recent private conversations, it has become very clear to
me (and I believe to those others), that the XML community is facing a
significant unfilled need. One that if left unfilled as we move forward
with new and more complex activities, will result in even more difficulties
than we currently face. 

That need is: a formal deterministic means of discovery. 

The authors of the namespace recommendation firmly stand behind the
*intent* of the rec, in simply providing a name. 

The "rest of the world", is looking for a means of discovering what belongs
with that name, it's associated definitions, semantics, and other data that
may be necessary to complete their operations. 

In most ways, both groups are "right". 

Proposed continued work within the XML space at the W3C may address this in
part, but not, in my opinion, in full. 

Many of the arguments we face in namespaces come about due to the unspoken
argument that either a: they simply didn't go far enough, or b: additional
work is necessary to complement them. This assertion has never really come
to the forefront in our discussions on this topic. 

Until that time, these arguments over the appropriate choices in
namespaces, in XHTML or anywhere else,  will only proliferate. 

Rather than trying to second guess what those mechanisms may be, I'd
personally prefer to simply not address the question of namespaces in XHTML
until we know more (meaning remain silent on the issue in the XHTML PR, or
purposefully defer within the spec): rather than being forced to make a
choice between 1 or 3. Though if I must choose, my choice is still with 3,
in that I find it easier to scale back granularity at a later date, than to
add it. 

Food for thought at all levels, not just for this one issue. 



Author of Effective Web Design: Master the Essentials
Coming in September --- Mastering XML

Founder, WebGeek Communications  
Vice President-Finance, HTML Writers Guild
Director, HWG Online Education   

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