Namespace question: Do attributes inherit the element's namespace?

Bob Kline bkline at
Thu Jan 6 20:47:51 GMT 2000

On Thu, 6 Jan 2000, Tim Bray wrote:

> At 02:51 PM 1/6/00 -0500, Bob Kline wrote:
> >> Basically, then, the main question was whether the attribute names in
> >> the following two examples are identical:
> >>   <html:a href="foo">
> >>   <html:a html:href="foo">
> >> For most applications (such as RDF, and, possibly, XSL), the answer is
> >> a firm 'no', but the WG decided to make it *possible* to distinguish
> >I'm feeling a little lost in the medieval subtleties here.  
> It's a pity this stuff is so hard, but well... it's hard.  One of the
> brightest computer programmers I ever knew, Phil Karlton, said "There
> are only two hard problems in Computer Science: cache invalidation
> and naming things."  I agree that it's hard to avoid discussions that
> are reminiscent of medieval theology.
> So... let's try again.  Consider these two
>    <html:a href="foo">
>    <html:a html:href="foo">
> The namespace spec could have said one of three things:
> 1. These must always be treated as identical
> 2. These must always be treated as different
> 3. Applications can make up their minds
> The then-Working Group eventually went for #3.  It's kind of like
> non-Euclidean geometries; each of the three options above produces a
> self-consistent universe, so the only question is, which one do we
> want to live in?  
> Most applications, it seems, want to live in Universe #1, and the
> namespace spec allows them to do that.  -Tim

OK.  If I understand your last paragraph, you're saying the opposite of
what David M. said earlier in the thread ("[f]or most applications ...
the answer is a firm 'no' [the two examples are *not* identical]") -

Bob Kline
mailto:bkline at

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