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Re: status quo

From: W. E. Perry <wperry@fiduciary.com>
Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 15:30:29 -0400
Message-ID: <392444D5.F55EFD87@fiduciary.com>
To: "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>, xml-uri@w3.org
I think that Simon has advanced a sound peacemaking proposal, provided that is
is seen as only interim or transitional. Despite the appearance yesterday that
an ex cathedra pronouncement to halt this discussion might be imminent, I
believe (hope, too) that the unprecedented step of opening this debate was not
lightly taken and would not be quickly reversed. I have seized the floor far
more than I am ordinarily comfortable in doing precisely because the underlying
dispute (string or reference?; syntax or semantics?) was a manifestation of a
problem in XML handling which I had begun to bump up against on a daily basis,
which was clearly not going to go away, and which really ought to be debated as
a central question of how to formulate the web (semantic or otherwise) which we
are building. It is clear to me that we cannot now avoid "buzzing for years".
The question is only whether that will be a useful debate on what will succeed
or interim agreement, and how, or simply endless grumbling, sour grapes, and
the search for a newer next new thing.


Walter Perry

"Simon St.Laurent" wrote:

> 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.
Received on Thursday, 18 May 2000 15:30:35 UTC

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