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Re: XML namespaces and RDF

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Date: Thu, 20 Dec 2007 11:54:43 +0000
Message-ID: <476A5803.1060704@danbri.org>
To: Max Voelkel <voelkel@fzi.de>
CC: Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org>, Michael Rys <mrys@microsoft.com>

Dan Brickley wrote:
> 
> Max Voelkel wrote:
>> Hi,
>>
>>   so I understand now that RDF people hijacked the XML namespace idea.
> 
> I'm afraid you're mistaken; we were amongst its first customers. This is 
> documented  even from the days before XML itself was finalised (although 
> I've just failed to find the relevant links). There was in fact a big 
> fuss about this about ten years ago, within W3C: XML didn't get frozen 
> before it was clear that the basics were in place to build a namespaces 
> mechanism (the full spec for which came later), for specs such as RDF to 
> build upon.

Typically, having sent this, seconds later I track down the message I 
wanted to cite here. It is W3C Member-confidential, but also nearly a 
decade old so I feel OK quoting parts of it. Those of you with W3C site 
password access can see the full thing, from Jan 12 1998: 
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Member/w3c-xml-wg/1998Jan/0034.html
"URGENT: Proposal to modify or delay XML 1.0 Recommendation".
which cites http://www.w3.org/Member/Meeting/98JanAC/xml-req.html
"Turning XML into a Universal Syntax for Web Data Formats". This asked, 
amongst other things, for an extension mechanism "giving a way to reuse 
elements defined for other web applications in their syntax, or to 
extend the set of elements that can occur within their syntax in a 
controlled way."

I raise this not to air dirty laundry in public (although you don't have 
to read far into those old threads to see how strong the feelings were 
running at the time). Rather, I just wanted to stress that RDF's 
concerns have been part of the XML story, for better or worse, for more 
than a decade. And, on a positive note, to agree with Noah Mendelsohn's 
observations yesterday in 
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/uri/2007Dec/0074.html that it has 
become easier now to position XML and RDF in the same marketplace. 
Looking back on those earlier discussions reminds me just how far we've 
come, even if there are plenty of fiddly little issues (like QNames vs 
URIs) whose details need to be worked out.

cheers,

Dan
Received on Thursday, 20 December 2007 11:54:56 GMT

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