an unfilled need

David Brownell david-b at
Mon Sep 6 07:26:36 BST 1999

Ann Navarro wrote:
> That need is: a formal deterministic means of discovery.

Others called this an AI problem; I'll just ask why it'd be needed.

Rather than looking at a thing and discovering some singular meaning
from it, it's equally doable to look at that thing and recognize if
it's something for which one or more meanings is known.  Or to expect
such a thing, and thus know how to handle it when it arrives.

Those latter two approaches are tried and true ... and are also, in
the big scheme of things, a lot safer.

> 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.

I think that's unfair to the "rest of the world" -- of which I'm a
member.  I'm not looking for such a thing.  I've worked with such
systems in the past, can whip them up at need, and don't tend to use
them very much.  I certainly wouldn't want to see W3C get invested in
any particular variant in that solution space.

> 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): 

I hope this begins to reflect some kind of consensus -- "First,
do no harm".  The XHTML spec will be helpful without addressing
the namespace issue -- a straight XML 1.0 application.  Although
I'd far prefer to see a single namespace defined for (X)HTML, it
could wait for a while yet.

- Dave

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