Namespaces discussion underway
13:42, 16 May 2000 UTC | Simon St.Laurent

Advancing into the trenches of the relative URIs in namespaces debate, the xml-uri mailing list is trying to sort out the complex relationship between namespaces and URIs.

Tim Berners-Lee started out with a response to 'the Pope':

"(Using URIs is crucially important for the architecture, and forbidding relative URIs while workable is an inferior solution)... I have a (perhaps naif) trust in the outcome of a technically sound solution and a relief of misunderstandings. Maybe my naivete will be tested at this point.."

After a number of others had questioned the reliability of relative URIs in namespace situations and asked about shifting complexity among user groups, Tim Bray, one of the editors of the Namespaces in XML Recommendation, supported Tim Berners-Lee on many points, but parted ways at relative URIs:

"If I may quote tediously again from the namespace recommendation:
"The namespace name, to serve its intended purpose, should have the characteristics of uniqueness and persistence. "
Relative URI references have many virtues; but they do not include either uniqueness or persistence. Working with them underlines, if it were needed, the point I made above: you really can't tell anything useful by examining a URI as a string; you have to go get the resource. Thus it is my view a huge bug that that the Namespace recommendation doesn't forbid the use of relative URI references. "

Joe Kesselman suggested that:

"For me, the critical question -- which _nobody_ was able to answer -- was "How can one write an application that performs namespace-aware document processing if namespace names are compared after absolutizing." Until that is answered, I won't be able to consider that a reasonable approach."

Dicussion will undoubtedly continue.

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