Mike Champion <mc@x...> wrote: | a) what specific ways do namespaces bite people who understand them and | use software that supports them properly? It's not so much an issue of "do" as "will". Namespaces will bite hard when it comes to associating more than one significant name to the same data value. (Why did it have to be xlink:href **VERSUS** html:src, for instance?) It's an implicit assumption of namespaces that only one name ever applies to any value - that factoring into *disjoint* "namespaced" components is the only meaningful way to look at the content of compound documents. This is counterfactual enough to be ludicrous. It is normal for data to have information value in multiple taxonomies simultaneously, which is why all markup is fundamentally annotative, not ontologically declarative, and why all names used in markup are instrumental, not immanently universal or whatever. (After a year of enduring relentless and insensate babbling on "globally unique names" and G*d knows what else in the way of amateur philosophizing on the now defunct w3c-xml-sig, I really don't have the stomach for any more.) One common workaround is introducing extra element structure, carefully crafted to avoid invited complications such as extraneous white space (as pretty printers could innocently create), and indeterminate opacity (why do you ignore only the *tagging* of other namespaces?), such as the first example ("book review") here: http://www.xml.com/pub/a/1999/01/namespaces.html Note how stuff like <h:td><xdc:author>Simon St. Laurent</xdc:author></h:td> really needs to be on one line with the tags cheek by jowl (Why? Because two syntactically distinct elements are being used to annotate exactly the same *value*). We also really shouldn't get into why the <h:>'s all have the <xdc:>s within them (does this meet *any* understanding of content as analytic?). Compare the reworking: http://lists.xml.org/archives/xml-dev/200002/msg00609.html and note that colonified names are utterly and completely unnecessary. I'll concede that, to people immersed in namespace theology, this is not obvious. Attribute-based processing is still undiscovered - oops, that should be unreinvented - in the XML world. As usual, the only way we learn is the hard way. Give it a couple of years, at least. | b) What should one do to avoid being bitten, given that they are | pervasive? Drop the mindset. What makes you *think* namespaces will solve the problems you face? | c) How would one do it differently in 20:20 hindsight? Not rush into premature "standardization".
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