tricky XHTML 1.0 namespace question

Simon St.Laurent simonstl at
Mon Jan 17 18:41:04 GMT 2000

At 06:18 PM 1/17/00 +0000, Henry S. Thompson wrote:
>One bug:  there are no 'global' attributes in the XHTML DTDs, so that
>should be [xhtml:a href=""]online[/xhtml:a].

Okay, although 'class' is explicitly mentioned in the Namespace draft as
one possibility:

NS>XML 1.0 does not provide a built-in way to declare "global" 
NS>attributes; items such as the HTML CLASS attribute are global
NS>only in their prose description and their interpretation by HTML

and I'd have to call the description of global attributes provided in the
Rec murky at best.  Perhaps this is something the Schemas work will improve
upon.  The infoset draft doesn't mention it at all.

>> 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?  

Because the manner in which the Namespace REC 'explicitly says that is NOT
the case' is not very clear,  to put it mildly, and because this issue is
questioned on a quarterly basis in depth on at least one of the many
mailing lists focused on XML.  Stating it in the XHTML REC would, among
other things, provide a clear example of how namespaces _should_ work in
addition to the often-shot-at namespaces REC. 

>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.

Given the enormous amount of time wasted on this 'red herring', I'd suggest
that this issue get some kind of _official_ clean-up, perhaps in its
currently brief errata. [2]  It would be nice for there to be less
developer confusion on this issue.

[1] -
[2] -

Simon St.Laurent
XML Elements of Style / XML: A Primer, 2nd Ed.
Building XML Applications
Inside XML DTDs: Scientific and Technical
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