status quo

The current situtation seems to be:

1) "An XML namespace is a collection of names, identified by a URI
reference [RFC2396], which are used in XML documents as element types and
attribute names. XML namespaces differ from the "namespaces" conventionally
used in computing disciplines in that the XML version has internal
structure and is not, mathematically speaking, a set."

2) "URI References which identify namespaces are considered identical when
they are exactly the same character for character.  Note that URI
references which are not identical in this sense may in fact be
functionally equivalent.  Examples include URI references which differ only
in case, or which are external entities which have different base URIs." 

By my reading, relative URIs are permitted in XML namespaces, but
namespaces will be compared as strings - character for character - not as
converted to absolutes.

Applications that want to go on from there could resolve and dereference
the URI on their own recognizance, retrieving a schema, a package, a list
of lightbulb jokes.

While I personally find the use of relative URIs in namespaces unsettling
and dangerous, I think I could live with that provided that the
character-by-character rule remains enforced.  

Changing this spec or its interpretation in any more significant way seems
likely to keep this list and various internal W3C lists buzzing for years.
I hope that in the future specs come with more conformance tests, so that
these issues might get raised earlier in their life cycle, but failing
that, I think the Web community is stuck with a spec that's pleasing to no
one philosophically but will work well enough in practice.

No, I don't expect anyone to like this proposal, but it seems worth making.

Simon St.Laurent
XML Elements of Style / XML: A Primer, 2nd Ed.
Building XML Applications
Inside XML DTDs: Scientific and Technical
Cookies / Sharing Bandwidth

Received on Thursday, 18 May 2000 13:51:31 UTC