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

  • From: Michael Sokolov <sokolov@ifactory.com>
  • To: David Lee <dlee@calldei.com>
  • Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2010 08:25:10 -0500

Re:  "Proper" use of namespace - as schema or as authority?
My view on this is pragmatic, and based on the idea that namespaces exist to make it possible to mix vocabularies with name clashes.  Therefore if a single naming authority can enforce the uniqueness names throughout some schema or set of schemas, only one namespace is required for that.  Using additional namespaces tends to add confusion and only has value insofar as it  helps to avoid element-name ambiguity.

I think the other goal you have - identifying documents as belonging to a schema - can be done by the root element's QName, or, if more specificity is required, by an additional mechanism you define (such as "doc-type" or "version" attribute on the root element).

Also consider that the division of your schema information into multiple schemas is somewhat arbitrary.  Couldn't you just as well combine them into a single schema that covers multiple document types?


On 12/27/2010 8:05 AM, David Lee wrote:
000001cba5c6$cb4d9cc0$61e8d640$@calldei.com" type="cite">

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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