Another look at namespaces

james anderson James.Anderson at
Fri Sep 17 18:08:08 BST 1999

Tim Berners-Lee wrote:
> We either have a different use of words or a very serious
> problem.

I suspect the potential for a serious problem.

>   Whereas with natural langauge, meanings change and
> grow and everyone has slightly different associations with a word,
> in computer languages we need to build on top of XML we need
> to have the ability to define meaning precicely in terms of
> other existing languages.
> If you believe that "HTML 4.0" specification  - and a schema for XHTML -
> can decied that <p> cannot occur in <head> then do you not grant
> th ewriters of the spec the right to make that definitiove assertion (in
> prose
> or schema) whatever code someone may or may not write to produce or
> parse <p> inside <head>

Yes, but with respect to the DTD, not the namespace.

There are no grounds to take issue with the XHTML specification where it
prescribes a specific interpretation to the element
<{}p> in the presence of the respective
document type declaration

        html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN"

but any claims that the interpretation should arise directly from the
evocation of the namespace "{}p" are
misleading. That is, the permission granted in 3.1.1#4, that the external
identifier need not be present, ascribes to the respective root xmlns
attribute a meaning which is neither asserted in the namespace recommendation,
nor adequately specified in the XHTML pr itself.

In this regard, i have two questions:
1) what is the status of a document which "evokes" the namespace
but contains no document type declaration? Is it XHTML conformant but of
indeterminate XML validity?

2) what is the status of a document which "evokes" this namespace, but
contains a document type declaration with respective element declarations
which differ from those in the above mentioned dtd? I suspect that it is XHTML
non-conformant but of determinate XML validity

ie. the evocation of the namespace is, in itself, immaterial.

xml-dev: A list for W3C XML Developers. To post, mailto:xml-dev at
Archived as: and on CD-ROM/ISBN 981-02-3594-1
To (un)subscribe, mailto:majordomo at the following message;
(un)subscribe xml-dev
To subscribe to the digests, mailto:majordomo at the following message;
subscribe xml-dev-digest
List coordinator, Henry Rzepa (mailto:rzepa at

More information about the Xml-dev mailing list