Another look at namespaces

Rick Jelliffe ricko at
Thu Sep 16 19:22:57 BST 1999

From: Ann Navarro <ann at>

>At 09:16 AM 9/16/99 -0700, Walter Underwood wrote:
>>At 04:41 PM 9/15/99 -0400, Tim Berners-Lee wrote:
>>> [...] the HTML 4.0 spec defined three, and XHTML was required to be
>>>as direct a mapping from HTML 4.0 to XML as possible.
>>This is a rationale. Including this with the recent draft
>>would have saved us all a lot of e-mail traffic.
>This was said way back at the beginning (August 29)
>Quoting myself  "No, we've not confused them. We happen to have three
>'flavors' of XHTML 1.0
>(the first deliverable from the XHTML project, not the end sum of our
>work), that essentially map to the three flavors of HTML 4.0."

But HTML 4.0 does not define three namespaces.  The term namespace
or its concept is never even used in it, that I can see.  It specifies
DTDs, but since  a schema is not a namespace, so what?   T.B-L's
argument is not that HTML 4 has three namespaces, but that HTML 4
has three DTDs, and so does is not an adequate rationale.

In any case, since HTML 4.0 was finished before  the namespace spec
(1997-12-18 v. 1999-01-14) , how could it specify three namespaces?
Does the HTML WG have some spirit guide :-)

It seems clear that the HTML team have some mental concept of namespaces
which exists independently of  what the W3C specification actually

If a W3C specs  can be utterly overturned in such a way, what is their

Rick Jelliffe

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