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Proposal for Changing Element and Property Names

From: Yaron Goland <yarong@microsoft.com>
Date: Fri, 30 Jan 1998 16:06:57 -0800
Message-ID: <3FF8121C9B6DD111812100805F31FC0D0113C79C@red-msg-59.dns.microsoft.com>
To: "'WEBDAV WG'" <w3c-dist-auth@w3.org>
Up until now we have used various URIs to name DAV defined properties and
XML elements. To date we have used http://www.ietf.org/standards/dav/xxx and
are currently using http://www.iana.org/standards/dav/xxx. Both names were
arbitrary and were chosen based on the assumption that it would eventually
be possible to register URLs with either the IETF or IANA. In fact such a
project has been started by IANA but it is in its very early stages and is
not yet ready to handle registering XML schemas or DAV property names.
Furthermore there are very serious issues regarding who owns the schemas,
who has the right to change them, what they should be, what information they
should provide, etc. that are very far from being resolved.

As such I propose the creation of the new DAV URI namespace. This namespace
is NOT resolvable to anything. It can ONLY be extended by having the new
names published as an RFC. Its only purpose is to create a unique namespace
for use by the DAV standards.

I imagine three questions immediately come to mind:

1) Wait, what if someday I do want to be able to resolve the DAV names into
a retrievable schema?
	No problem. The way we name everything in DAV is through the XML
namespace extension. The form of that extension is <namespace name=DAV:xxxx
href=http://www.foo.bar/blah as="dav">. The name attribute is required and
is the unique name of the namespace, it MAY be a resolvable URI but does not
have to be. The href attribute is completely optional but if used it MUST
point to a resolvable URI which can provide the schema. Thus when the IANA
schema registration group is up to full speed it can issue URLs that can be
used with any DAV compliant system, new or old.

2) Why don't you use a URN namespace of the form URN:DAV:xxxx?
	People who know me are especially likely to ask this question as I
am an unabashed fan of URNs. The reason for avoiding the URN namespace is
that the whole space is still being defined. For example, they only have "a
very drafty draft"
[ftp://ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-ietf-urn-nid-req-02.txt] on how URN
namespaces are registered. Additionally we are not proposing any mechanism
for actually resolving the DAV URI namespace so it seems inappropriate to
define a URN namespace with no provision for resolution. There is nothing
that stops us from coming back later, defining a URN:DAV namespace and
putting that value in href.

3) Wait, does this mean I can't name my XML elements or DAV properties with
arbitrary URIs?
	ABSOLUTELY NOT. DAV is 100% compliant with the XML namespace
extension which allows for ANY LEGAL URI to be used to name either an XML
element or a property. As such you can use ANY URI you want. Thus, for
example, the Dublin group could define a new author property with a
namespace declaration of <?namespace
name=http://www.aiim.org/dublin/standards/properties/author as="dublin">.
This proposal ONLY effects the names DAV uses for the XML elements and
properties it defines.

All DAV needs for its own XML elements and properties is uniqueness, not
resolution. As such I propose we stick with the feature we need rather than
trying to go beyond to features that are certainly sexy but not necessary.

			Yaron
Received on Friday, 30 January 1998 19:07:24 GMT

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