W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > xmlschema-dev@w3.org > May 2005

Re: Versioning of XML Schema and namespaces

From: G. Ken Holman <gkholman@CraneSoftwrights.com>
Date: Thu, 12 May 2005 19:32:18 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: xmlschema-dev@w3.org

At 2005-05-12 09:37 -0500, Eliot Kimber wrote:
>Michael Kay wrote:
>>>That's my reason for using the namespace with a version.
>>>I understand all the stated reasons for not doing this, but out of the 
>>>box there is nothing else that will consistently and automatically trip 
>>>up validation if I don't have the "right" file being used to validate my 
>>You might make it easier for the recipient to do validation by including a
>>version in the namespace, but you are making it hideously difficult for the
>>recipient to process the incoming documents using namespace-aware tools such
>>as XSLT and XQuery - as anyone who has tried to write code that handles the
>>different flavours of RSS can tell you.
>Yow! I completely forgot about this very practical reason for not 
>versioning namespaces! This is really much more compelling than any 
>philosophical argument I could make.
>Mike is 100% correct--any namespace-aware processor, the most obvious 
>example being XSLTs, may have to be significantly rewritten at the detail 
>level in order to handle each new variant of the namespace for the same 
>(abstract) application.

Ummmmmm ... wait a minute ... "significantly rewritten"?

To accommodate changing namespace URI strings in two of my customers' 
sites, I just use XML entities:

   <!DOCTYPE xsl:stylesheet
   <!ENTITY % common-ents SYSTEM "../common.ent"> %common-ents;
   <xsl:stylesheet ... xmlns:abc="&ns-abc;" ...>
   <xsl:template match="abc:def">

And then in a common entity file referenced by all stylesheets, I use:

   <!ENTITY ns-abc "urn:x-myuri:abc">

All stylesheets in the entire import tree bring in the very same entity 
file, so all I have to do is change the string in the entity file and all 
of my read-only stylesheets are up-to-date with the new namespace.

In the US intelligence community, different major versions of vocabularies 
are published with different namespace URI strings and I can implement two 
copies of a mostly read-only library and accommodate new semantic 
processing deltas through importation yet preserve former semantic 
processing of like-named nodes with the new namespace URI.

No rewriting at all for unchanged semantics ... hence my challenge of the 
choice of words "significantly rewritten".

Now, this does mean that I have two *deployments* of my stylesheet library, 
rather than one deployment that handles two different vocabularies, but I 
accept that because they really are two different vocabularies.  And, where 
processing semantics are the same, shared source-code-control-system 
modules exported to two different directories act on the two different 
vocabularies distinguished by the URI strings in their respective common 
entity files that differ.

I'm using this on a daily basis in two customer sites quite successfully.

I hope this helps.

. . . . . . Ken

World-wide on-site corporate, govt. & user group XML/XSL training.
G. Ken Holman                 mailto:gkholman@CraneSoftwrights.com
Crane Softwrights Ltd.          http://www.CraneSoftwrights.com/x/
Box 266, Kars, Ontario CANADA K0A-2E0    +1(613)489-0999 (F:-0995)
Male Breast Cancer Awareness  http://www.CraneSoftwrights.com/x/bc
Legal business disclaimers:  http://www.CraneSoftwrights.com/legal
Received on Thursday, 12 May 2005 23:32:47 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Wednesday, 7 January 2015 14:56:08 UTC