RFP: Namespace URI for HTML

Sebastian Schnitzenbaumer schnitz at overflow.de
Fri Sep 10 18:34:24 BST 1999

> At 01:24 AM 9/10/99 +0200, Sebastian Schnitzenbaumer wrote:
> >HTML is a damn useful vocabulary after all. Designing a completely 
> >new XML language is often the only way. But sometimes, a new 
> >application is rather a mixture of the features that HTML (or a 
> >subset of HTML) already provides together with entirely new 
> >features. In this case, one would re-use a subset of HTML in a new 
> >XML language, forming a new XHTML family member. 
> Exactly.  I suspect that 100% of the readers of this list agree 100%
> with this contention.  In fact, this is already happening - people
> are stealing chunks of HTML tags in other XML languages.  Good design, 

I absolutely agree. And that is what the Modularization of XHTML is 
all about. Instead of randomly stealing chunks from HTML, there is 
now a repository of XHTML modules. This ensures that everyone 
steals the image tag in the same way. There is great value in such 
a thing. Think of Modularization of XHTML as the "XHTML 
Development Kit". 

> But, if I want, in my own XML language, to use an HTML table here and
> an HTML hyperlink there, it seems to me the most natural thing in
> the world to do this:
> <myRootElement xmlns:html="the-namespace-URI-for-HTML">
>   <myTag> ...
>   <myOtherTag> ...
>   <html:a href="adsafa;dfs">sfasafsdj</html:a>
>   <yetAnotherTagOfMine> ...
>   <html:table>
>    <html:tr>...</html:tr></html:table>
>   </myRootElement>

Sure. You can do that. No question.

> why on earth would I want different namespaces for all these different
> HTML modules?  There is no possibility of collisions since they're
> all from HTML.  -Tim

Each module does not define its own namespace. Modularization  
itself has nothing to do with namespaces. It is just XHTML sliced  
into pieces. You can take some or all of the pieces, create your 
own pieces and come out with a new XHTML variant, XHTML family 
member or just a new XML language using some stuff from XHTML.

How this interacts with namespaces must be decided regarding the 
context, there is no default way. Basically, it depends on to which 
degree your own language is intervoven with the XHTML modules.

Your example above is perfectly fine and marks one end of the 
spectrum. The other end would be, for instance, XHTML being the 
root and your additional modules are some new leaves. You're 
taking XHTML as it is and add some new elements that are useful 
for a specific domain. Then the set of new elements could well be a 
namespace of its own and the XHTML part belongs to the XHTML 
namespace. But if the set of new elements only make sense to be 
used together with XHTML and the result of the combination of both 
is something quite different from the standard XHTML, then it 
should be possible that XHTML-MyML is an entirely new 
namespace including both the XHTML part and the MyML part - 
perhaps operating in a closed environment.



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