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"Proper" use of namespace - as schema or as authority ?

  • From: "David Lee" <dlee@calldei.com>
  • To: <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>
  • Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2010 08:05:52 -0500

"Proper" use of namespace - as schema or as authority ?

I'd love some opinions/advise on what is considered the "Proper" (for lack of a better term like "Best Practice" ) on how to use namespaces.

I'm developing a tool which has several XML document types which it is creating and consuming.

I started out in no-namespace but I'm evolving towards using a namespace for them.

My rationale is


1) This will eventually be published so may be used by a variety of people/orgs/tools so putting it in a namespace seems useful.

2) SOME (but not all) of the types are embedded in XSD and XSLT so I'd like to use a namespace to avoid ambiguity.


Since I think #2 nearly requires a namespace to be safe, I'm thinking I should put ALL the xml this tool uses and consumes in a namespace for consistency more than anything even if its currently internal data only.   Plus that data might eventually come from other tools so I'm trying to be forward thinking, but at the same time not add unnecessary complexity.

( not sure that’s *possible* with namespaces but it’s a 'stretch goal')


So my question is …

A) Should I use a different namespace URI for every document type ?  Even if the elements it shares are completely orthogonal ?


B) Should I use a single namespace as an 'authority' concept, saying "All elements within this namespace belong to this toolset"

(I don’t have a better word for "authority").


My thinking so far is  

A) By using a different namespace for each document type I am associating a 1:1 schema -> namespace.   This provides the highest clarity (specificity).

Specificity and clarity are good.


B) By using a single namespace it is the minimum needed to keep 'my stuff' separated from 'your stuff' and is the most simple approach that still uses namespaces.

Simplicity is good.



Any ideas on how to choose which is "better" ?   I'm pretty sure there is no 'right' answer (or is there ?)


Thanks for any advice.




David A. Lee




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