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

Re: Fw: Welcome to the XML-URI list

From: Simon St.Laurent <simonstl@simonstl.com>
Date: Mon, 15 May 2000 13:45:54 -0400
Message-Id: <200005151744.NAA03266@hesketh.net>
To: <xml-uri@w3.org>
At 01:30 PM 5/15/00 -0400, Michael Champion wrote:
>The gist of Tim's message seems to be that *absolute* URIs are at the very
>foundation of the Web and give it and the W3C specs much of their power.  I
>doubt if anyone seriously disagrees.  But *relative* URIs are only a
>convenience mechanism, and as often happens, their convenience hides their
>dangers.
>
>Allowing relative URI's in namespaces that must somehow get resolved back to
>an absolute URI that may or may not point to a resource adds a fair amount
>of complexity to the specification and implementation of various XML-related
>specs. (I *know* that the DOM WG has wrestled with the complexities of
>namespace prefixes, names, URIs, and presenting a useable interface to the
>user for much of the last year).  Furthermore, it entangles the IETF URI
>specs with various W3C constructs (XML, namespaces, xml:base, etc.) in ways
>that are difficult for even experts to fully comprehend.  Finally, the end
>result is to give end users even more rope with which to hang themselves,
>ultimately decreasing the integrity of the Web in actual practice.

Mike brings up XBase here, and to me, that's a potentially explosive
backward-compatibility problem.  If XBase affects namespace URIs, then
applications which understand XBase will see different namespaces than
those that don't.  We already have parsers and applications that understand
XML 1.0 but not namespaces; we may end up with parsers and applications
that understand XML 1.0 and xml:base but not namespaces, as well as parsers
and applications that understand XML 1.0 and namespaces but not xml:base.
At some point, unless everyone is upgrading consistently, XML ceases to be
remotely interoperable across different implementations.

More frightening for me at least, is the prospect that moving a document
from one location on a site to another might in fact change the understood
vocabulary of the document.  That seems too risky - to me - to allow.
Seems like lots of rope, already tangled into nooses.

All of this has likely been discussed by the XML Plenary and the rest of
the W3C participants, but as this is a public discussion, and I'm not a W3C
member, it seems worth bringing up.

Simon St.Laurent
XML Elements of Style / XML: A Primer, 2nd Ed.
Building XML Applications
Inside XML DTDs: Scientific and Technical
Cookies / Sharing Bandwidth
http://www.simonstl.com
Received on Monday, 15 May 2000 13:44:04 UTC

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