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

Ray Waldin rwaldin at
Fri Jan 7 00:44:29 GMT 2000

Tim Bray wrote:
> 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

How can #3 be an option at the application level if #2 isn't enforced at
the parser level?  Will parsers allow switching between these universes
at parse time?

For example (an example everyone seems to avoid!):

  <html:a href="foo" html:href="bar"/> 

This element must be considered well-formed from the standpoint of XML
1.0 + Namespaces in order to allow #3 at the application level, no?  And
furthermore, applications wanting to live in #1 have to do extra work
for each and every attribute to ensure that documents in #3 are in the
subset that is universe #1.  Yikes!


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