Strange namespace history
00:06, 24 Dec 1999 UTC | Simon St.Laurent

Clark Evans reopened the eternal namespaces discussion by asking why the W3C abandoned the processing instruction approach in favor of the attributes approach. The answers suggest mostly politics.

Andrew Layman's claim that processing instructions don't support scoping was refuted by David Brownell, though Frank Boumphrey suggested that opinions on scoping and "a feeling that PIs were 'broken'" were responsible.

David Megginson, in an email that missed the archives (but which is partially quoted in this post by the author) suggested that 'influential parties' who wanted to keep PIs from showing up in older browsers were to blame, though he explicitly excused the usual suspects.

David Brownell suggested that 'a certain person (or persons) disliked PIs extremely', and that this was the true cause.

Arjun Ray, while noting and disputing the scoping issues, pointed out that ordinary readers have no access to the debates where the namespace spec was framed, and noted a line in those archives - "The making of laws, and of sausages, should be hidden from children".

Rick Jelliffe joined the discussion with an exploration of the scoping issues, and concern that namespaces have added yet another level of scoping to XML, as well as creating "attributes that are not attributes" on top of XML declarations being "PIs that are deemed not PIs".

The namespaces debate goes on. Despite Tim Bray's claim that "the namespace-oblivious world is just no longer interesting", many developers still seem to be figuring out - and questioning - the impact of the Namespaces in XML recommendation, almost a year after its publication.

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