Another look at namespaces

Tim Berners-Lee timbl at
Fri Sep 17 21:16:59 BST 1999

Philip Nye <philipnye at> wrote on Thursday, September 16, 1999
5:54 AM

>Tim Berners-Lee wrote:
>> I feel that language subsets are completely well defined, by the change
>> of namsespace preserving validity.

>I get the strong sense that your view is that subsetting is "good" and
>useful (my own feelings exactly).

We agree.

>  What I don't understand is why this
>obvious point is not reflected in the namespace spec.

The namespace spec had its work cut out finding a syntax for
declaring and use name prefixes.

Lots of folks wanted namespaces ASAP and so making remarks
that "subsets relationships are very helpful" or even better
defining an RDF property so that processors everywhere
can use it probably would have delayed the spec.
I don't in fact think that the namsepaces spec would have been
the best place for it.

But it sounds as though the xml-schema group *would* do well
to define this relationship. After all, it is just the sort of useful
thing as you point out one would naturally expect to find in the
schema, and the xml-schema langauge seems appropriate.

>Namespaces have no structure whatever. Schemata have lots of structure
>but no guaranteed recognition and access mechanism.

An access mechnaism for a URI to a document is well defined for
many URI schemes.  If you need it, use one,like HTTP, which has
an access mechanism.

>Philip Nye
>Engineering Arts UK


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