W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > xml-uri@w3.org > July 2000

Re: I have a dream

From: Liam Quin <liam@holoweb.net>
Date: Wed, 5 Jul 2000 19:13:40 -0400
To: xml-uri@w3.org
Cc: Tim Bray <tbray@attglobal.net>
Message-ID: <20000705191340.E73263@dirk.holoweb.net>
On Sat, Jun 24, 2000 at 10:52:33PM -0700, Tim Bray wrote:
> [...] I dream of writing software that when it runs into a namespace 
> name that it doesn't recognize, can use the name as a URI, dereference 
> it, and (maybe, no guarantees in the Web architecture) get something
> back that will help something useful happen.
I share this dream, and have shared that dream since the namespace
discussion began.  In fact, I've even implemented things like
that for SGML systems, in terms of remote behaviour sets.

It's why I think this whole xml-uri discussion is irrelevant:
the answer is not to worry over relative namespace names, but
to dereference them in that case and find a resource that gives
an absolute name.


> I think the W3C should make a serious priority of getting to work
> on figuring out how to make this a reality.


> I think that the future goal of useful dereferencing of 
> namespace names should *not* get in the way of the current goal
> of using them as globally-unique names.  For that reason, 
> relative URI references in this role should be at least 
> deprecated.  
That's OK, but let's not forbid them, because then people will
write software that breaks on them.

One problem is that we are confusing the namespace name (which is
an arbitrary string that happens to look like a URI) with a URI
that might in principle be used as a way to obtain a namespace name.

Another has been people thinking that if you have a URI, you must
either dereference it always, or never dereference it, despite the
fact that web browsers don't work that way with (for example) URLs.


Liam Quin - Barefoot in Toronto - liam@holoweb.net - http://www.holoweb.net/
Ankh on irc.sorcery.net http://valinor.sorcery.net/
Co-author, The XML Specification Guide, Wiley, 1999
Forthcoming: The Open Source XML Database Toolkit
Received on Wednesday, 5 July 2000 19:14:04 UTC

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