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Re: XML Namespaces 1.1

  • From: Liam R E Quin <liam@w3.org>
  • To: Rick Yorgason <rick@firefang.com>
  • Date: Wed, 25 May 2011 00:25:28 -0400

Re:  XML Namespaces 1.1
On Wed, 2011-05-25 at 00:00 -0400, Rick Yorgason wrote:

> All this proposal does is take markup that's currently invalid and 
> define a valid behaviour for it.

So people would start having an expectation that parsers would accept
markup that they currently reject.

So, the existing parsers would need to be replaced.

>  if nothing gets standardized until everybody implements it, 
> then by definition there would never, ever, be any new XML features. 
> You would never have XInclude, or XLink, or even XML 1.1.

We don't really have XML 1.1, nor XML 5th edition, although 5th edition
is I think starting to be accepted.  XLink is not widely used.  XInclude
has better support, but note that none of these three specifications
affect the well-formedness of documents.

> I mean, we're talking about a language that has its roots in *browsers*.
Erm, no?  XML was originally "Web SGML", and was intended to be a
profile or subset of SGML that could be used interoperably in viewers
such as EBT's DynaWeb and SoftQuad's Panorama.  It's true these were (or
had versions that were) Web browser plugins, but I don't think you can
really characterise XML as a language designed for browsers. Rather,
SGML was designed for publishing, and the early work on XML reflected

> I know I probably sound a bit confrontational, but I don't think you 
> actually believe that it's as hopeless as you make it out to be.  I 
> mean, your own namespace proposal is quite a bit more disruptive and 
> ambitious than this one, so surely you still have *some* hope that 
> reform is possible.

Well, that's true :-) although it didn't fly either.

I'm sorry if you caught me on a bad day (year? decade?).

The primary difference is the migration and upgrade path, though.  My
proposal had/has documents that are well-formed XML (with, I admit, some
fuzzy edges to be pinned down) that would be interpreted differently by
unobtrusive-namespace-aware processors. Which is comparable to the way
that a new vocabulary is treated differently.  You're suggesting (as I
understand it) that documents be passed around that are currently not

You can add features, if done with care, but changing the way lower
levels work is very difficult.  Whilst I do agree with you that
namespaces could have been designed differently (especially if we'd had
another few months), they weren't.


Liam Quin - XML Activity Lead, W3C, http://www.w3.org/People/Quin/
Pictures from old books: http://fromoldbooks.org/

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