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

Re: Use cases

From: John Cowan <jcowan@reutershealth.com>
Date: Mon, 22 May 2000 09:53:50 -0400
Message-ID: <39293BEE.A6E23B5E@reutershealth.com>
To: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>
CC: xml-uri@w3.org
Tim Berners-Lee wrote:

> Maybe you are right.  Ihave too much of the web mindset.  If they had an
> xml mindset they could make that assumption, and XSL would fail.

XML is a W3C Recommendation, but that does not mean that the World Wide
Web, or any web, is the only place it is going to be used.

> >> >2. retroactive changes can be introduced by vendors with minimal
> customer
> >> >disruption,
> >>
> >> That I would think would be the case. Much larger changes have been made.
> >
> >To XML?  To published Recs?  Killing backward compatibility of documents?
> >I hope not.
> No, to software.

I have repeatedly said that nobody thinks software is sacred.  Backward-incompatible
changes to existing *documents* (i.e. to their (superficial) meaning)
are a totally different story.

> That relative URIs were not dereferenced before comparison in NS 1.0. This
> has been fixed in NS 1.1 and software is being distributed to fix this.
> This will only affect those who have been using strings which are
> syuntactically
> relative URIs but which have been treated as being absolute.

Well and good, provided you mark the change in each and every document that
conforms to the new rules but not the old.  I say again, are we ready for

> Currenltly there are certainly documents which use relative URIs with the
> expectations of relative URIs. Yes, there may be also some which use them
> with the expectations that they are strings.  If you are right about this
> then there will be no way to go without pain.

I have proposed a way: dividing namespace names into two classes based on

	absolute URI + fragment-option: interpret as URI reference
	any other string: interpret as string

This means that you cannot use strings like "../../ns/foo" and get the
relative-URI interpretation, but that is a relatively cheap cost IMHO.

Other separation points are possible, but this one is particularly clean.
Another that comes to mind: interpret any string with "/" or ":" in it
as a URI reference, all others as strings.

> Morally we have a duty to the future, as well as the past, to make a clean
> powerful base for futire work.

Quatsch.  There is nothing "clean" about XML 1.0, which is simply full of the
detritus of the past.  Yet every attempt to "clean it up" by the W3C has been
full of contention and a lack of well-stated goals.

> This wouldn't help anyway, if as you suggest there are documents whose
> authors thought that they were NS 1.0 compliant but which used the two
> different interpretations.

Distinguo.  The literal interpretation is specifically blessed by the words
of the NS Rec.  The absolutizing interpretation is merely implicit.

> I so wish I had jumped into this with both feet when the NS spec came out.

So say we all.


Schlingt dreifach einen Kreis um dies! || John Cowan <jcowan@reutershealth.com>
Schliesst euer Aug vor heiliger Schau,  || http://www.reutershealth.com
Denn er genoss vom Honig-Tau,           || http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
Und trank die Milch vom Paradies.            -- Coleridge (tr. Politzer)
Received on Monday, 22 May 2000 09:54:10 UTC

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