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

Re: Are *relative* URIs as namespace nemes considered harmful?

From: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 16 May 2000 20:52:19 -0400
Message-ID: <000201bfbfd4$b21f2220$dde7adc1@ridge.w3.org>
To: <keshlam@us.ibm.com>, "John Cowan" <jcowan@reutershealth.com>
Cc: <xml-uri@w3.org>

>>Well, then don't use them if that's the property you want *your* names to
>Should I reply equally tersely? "If you don't want the defined behavior of
>namespace names, don't expect namespace names to directly solve your

I am sorry if that was too terse.  I meant that the document creator has the
choice as to whether to use a relative URI and will do it rarely (I imagine)
and then
only when it provides a benefit.   No one is being forced to write oroutput
relative URIs. Only to understand them and simply convert them on input
as one does with any other URI.

>This is why many of us voted for the Literal String solution. It gives us a
>version that permits the reliable recognizability promised by Namespaces,
>_and_ permits relative syntax for those who want that option. The
>alternatives all seem to break one community or the other.

The alternatives are consitent at least!  This "compromise" is as I have
before like having the cars drive on the right and the trucks drive on the
It is inconsistent.  What do you do with documents on different http servers
which each refer to "foo"?  What do you do with a documents
which refers to "foo" and "./foo" in the same document? Here treating
them as URIs and as strings give opposite results.  You just can't do that.
You either have to ban relative URis or absolutize them. I could live with
first as a wart in the design but the second is preferable.

Treating URIs this way is not new - that is the way they have been treated
for 10 years. To change it would be new.

Tim BL

>Joe Kesselman  / IBM Research
Received on Wednesday, 17 May 2000 03:49:26 UTC

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