XML in the real world... Was "Re: Another look at namespaces"

Tyler Baker tyler at infinet.com
Fri Sep 17 14:25:25 BST 1999

David Carlisle wrote:

> My fear is that as the extra effort to use multiple namespaces will be
> too great for most people, the actual result of an XHTML with 3
> namespaces will be that the vast majority of XHTML documents will
> not specify a namespace at all, thus making it easier to write
> stylesheets etc. (eg <xsl:template match="h1"> ...) This will put
> a broad class of XHTML documents into the null namespace which will
> totally break the whole intention of namespaces that would allow
> tools to recognise XHTML elements as XHTML rather than some other
> XML element that just happens to have the same name.

I think that this is what will end up happening in the end. A long time ago in a galaxy far
far away when I was working with XSL, I argued that "Namespaces in XML" will probably end up
being completely unused by webmasters and the like who are after all the intended audience for
XSL (now more specifically known as XSLT). I do feel that namespaces of some sort will be
necessary for XML, but that ideal is far from what the W3C recommendation "Namespaces in XML"
actually is. Until a decent usable "Namespaces in XML" recommendation comes out (which is
unlikely but there is always hope) then developers like myself will use our own custom
solutions (I have one now which works just great) for dealing with the namespaces issue in our
applications. Unfortunately, those who deal with WWW content almost exclusively in their jobs,
will be forced to deal with the myriad of problems "Namespaces in XML" brings to XHTML. Even
if XHTML were to have just one namespace, "Namespaces in XML" really mucks things up for what
I always thought HTML was supposed to be in that it is a presentation format.

> David
> PS
> Ann, I know (from personal experience:-) what it is like to be upholding
> an official line in the face of multiple complaints on a public list.
> I admire the way in which you've kept your calm, and managed to respond
> to most of the incoming flood.

Though I don't agree with what much of Ann has said, I do respect that she at least takes the
time and energy to argue the points of the HTML WG rather than take the usual W3C line of
deafening silence on issues until it is too late. Also, the fact that 99% of the posts on this
list aside from Ann's are from men who need to get out more (including myself) makes it all
the more encouraging to see someone like Ann challenge the incoming flood of testosterone that
swamps this mailing list (-:


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