W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-tag@w3.org > February 2002

RE: Namespaces are Simply Punctuation

From: Larry Masinter <LMM@acm.org>
Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2002 08:35:39 -0800
To: "'Patrick Stickler'" <patrick.stickler@nokia.com>, "'ext Tim Bray'" <tbray@textuality.com>, <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000001c1af2c$501c5360$0b78bfd1@larrypad>
> namespace == punctuation
> 
>   A namespace is nothing more than punctuation. It prevents
>   local names from colliding in a context of global syndication
>   of names.


I'm fine with almost everything you say except:

>                                                  Once used
>   as a namespace, that URI ceases to have interpretation as a URI.

This is a problem. There's no temporal act that causes
the use of an ordinary URI -- AS A URI -- to change.
The mere act of writing 'xmlns=URI' doesn't
cause the URI to stop working.

URIs have meaning as hyperlinks. There's another application,
"namespace name", that uses URI-like strings for something else, to
identify namespaces. There's no technical guarantee of a strong
relationship between the two uses, but there is a proposed
administrative policy, that those who assign namespace names
only use URIs for resources over which they have some authority,
and that they maintain some useful information about the
namespace as the resource. The 50,000-foot document suggests
that a schema might be a nice useful thing to put there,
or some other kind of documentation.

http://www.w3.org/2002/02/my-favorite-spec is a fine URI
for talking about the resource you connect to using the
HTTP protocol to the host www.w3.org with /2002/02/my-favorite-spec
as the path in the HTTP protocol.

It may also be useful to assign as a namespace name to
some XML namespace, and a good idea, as a matter of
policy, to insure that the administrator of the www.w3.org
server keep something useful at /2002/02/my-favorite/spec
that talks about the namespace.

Just as with natural languages, there are strings of
characters that have different meanings depending on
the conext of use. "xmlns=" and "href=" are very
different contexts; it would help to be clearer about
that.

Larry
-- 
http://larry.masinter.net
Received on Wednesday, 6 February 2002 11:36:17 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Thursday, 26 April 2012 12:47:04 GMT