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

URLs for Namespaces: I don't buy it

From: David Hunter <david.hunter@mobileQ.COM>
Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 13:12:13 -0400
Message-ID: <11EFECB5ED98D111AC8E0060945138BC10C12B@MAYTAG>
To: xml-uri@w3.org
I asked yesterday why the namespace rec specified URIs, instead of just
specifying URNs must be used for namespace names.  I went home last night
with the explanation, that URNs "weren't ready for prime time", and that
it's somehow easier to create unique names with URLs.

I've come to the conclusion that I don't believe that.  :-)  First of all, I
don't believe that it's somehow easier to create unique names using URLs; I
think that point has been raised on this list a number of times in the last
couple of days.  (<aside>Is there any such thing as a relative URN?</aside>)

Second, I can't help but notice the following points:

  1)  The Namespace specification says that the namespace
      names are just that:  names.  URNs are the perfect 
      fit for this.  It's what they were invented for.

  2)  There are people who want namespace names to be more
      than just names, but to actually point to things.
      They want it so badly that they didn't even notice
      this isn't what the Namespace rec says.  For these
      people, URLs are a better fit than URNs.

So I ask again:  what were the reasons, <em>technical or political</em>,
that URIs were used in the Namespace rec, instead of URNs?

To those on the outside, like myself, it seems like most people agreed that
namespace names were just names, nothing else, just like the spec says, and
then suddenly the W3C jumped up in the last couple of days and decided that
the URLs should point to something, and claim that this was the intent all
along.  It appears that, internally, one of two things is going on:

  1)  The W3C intended something entirely different for
      the Namespace spec than was included in that spec.
      In this case, some very sloppy work went on in
      crafting the spec, since it doesn't say what they
      wanted it to say.

  2)  Some people in the W3C want so badly to push their
      idea of the nebulous "semantic web" concept that
      they're rewriting the Namespace spec to mean what
      they wanted it to mean.

Someone please help me to clear this confusion.

David Hunter
Received on Thursday, 18 May 2000 13:09:22 UTC

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