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

Tyler Baker tyler at infinet.com
Fri Sep 17 22:11:28 BST 1999

Ann Navarro wrote:

> It's assertions like this that honestly confuse me. WWW content,rendered on
> today's HTML browsers, cares not a whit about namespaces, so how does
> having 3 complicate your life more than 1? We effectively have "0" since
> the browsers don't use, acknowledge, or appreciate the namespace.

This is true now for HTML itself now, but aside from making browsers more bloated
than they already are. What you end up having to do in practice anyways is map
each P element from each namespace to some sort of element object in the document
tree rather than just have one P element. How about 3 new versions of XHTML in say
XHTML 2.0. Then you have 6 different namespaces to deal with, rather than just

You will have code that says:

if (namespace.equals("XHTML_1.0_STRICT")) {
else if (namespace.equals("XHTML_2.0_STRICT")) {

Every time you create a new version of XHTML, previous versions are in effect no
longer backwards compatible unless you map the elements from the old namespace to
the new namespace which really is bad practice and a hack.

HTML 3.0 browsers could read HTML 2.0 content since HTML 3.0 inherited the
properties of HTML 2.0. But by putting everything in its own namespace you are
really saying that there will no longer be any sort of inheritance. If you can't
see the potential for code bloat, let alone dangerous hacks that HTML engines will
employ just to glue everything together, then I don't know what to say.

On a related note, if anyone looks at the current draft of XSLT, it is a very nice
piece of work, even though I wish that "Namespaces in XML" was removed from it and
replaced with something different to handle the namespaces issue. One reason it is
a nice piece of work is that through the hard work of James Clark, he has written
a proof of concept implementation of each draft that he calls XT. Though I have
never been present at any of the XSLT WG's, I am sure that Mr. Clark has raised
many issues that would otherwise never have been raised if he had not actually
implemented the most recent working drafts into XT. Perhaps, this should be done
with XHTML even though a prototype implementation is actually a lot more work than
writing an XSLT processor (may take at least three people). This may seem like a
waste of resources, but I think it would really help out the HTML WG in separating
theory from reality.

> > 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 (-:
> Would it help to know that in my "previous life" (of most of my 20s), I
> spent nearly 10 years in the radio control room at the police department,
> effectively telling 30-50 men where to go all night? ;)

Oh so I guess you are used to the overwhelming male atmosphere here. Well at least
you had a large pool of men in uniform to date whenever you wanted to back then.
Now you just have the option of having cyber-sessions with us XML-DEVers (-:


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