tricky XHTML 1.0 namespace question

Henry S. Thompson ht at
Mon Jan 17 18:18:11 GMT 2000

"Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl at> writes:

> [example elided]
> This uses the default namespace for its work.  Would it be possible (I
> think it
> should be) to use a prefix?


>               [?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?]
>               [!-- initially, the default namespace is "books" --]
>               [book xmlns=''
>                   xmlns:isbn='urn:ISBN:0-395-36341-6' xml:lang="en" lang="en"]
>                 [title]Cheaper by the Dozen[/title]
>                 [isbn:number]1568491379[/isbn:number]
>                 [notes]
>                   [!-- make HTML the default namespace for a hypertext
> commentary --]
>                   [xhtml:p xmlns:xhtml='']
>                       This is also available [xhtml:a
> xhtml:href=""]online[/xhtml:a].
>                   [/xhtml:p]
>                 [/notes]
>               [/book]

One bug:  there are no 'global' attributes in the XHTML DTDs, so that
should be [xhtml:a href=""]online[/xhtml:a].

> If so, is:
>                       This is also available [xhtml:a
> xhtml:href=""]online[/xhtml:a].
> equivalent to:
>                       This is also available [xhtml:a
> href=""]online[/xhtml:a].

No.  Only the latter is correct.

> While XHTML seems to assume that attributes with no prefix fall into the
> namespace of their containing element throughout, I can't find this stated
> explicitly.  (Perhaps they weren't aware that this has been a contentious
> issue?)

Why should they state it explicitly, when the Namespace REC explicitly
says that is NOT the case?  The fact that people on this list have
been confused about this does not mean the HTML WG is confused or is
responsible for sorting out their confusion.  See my message to Dave
about this [1] for a succinct statement of why this is a time-wasting
red herring which IS perfectly clearly specified in the Namespace REC.


  Henry S. Thompson, HCRC Language Technology Group, University of Edinburgh
     2 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh EH8 9LW, SCOTLAND -- (44) 131 650-4440
	    Fax: (44) 131 650-4587, e-mail: ht at

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