Namespaces URIs logjam moving toward a decision
11:55, 4 Jul 2000 UTC | Eric van der Vlist

Michael Sperberg-McQueen has announced that the W3C XML Plenary discussion will be asked to vote for a proposal established from propositions originally made by Joe Kesselman and amended by Dan Connolly and other participants and formerly know as the "deprecate" proposal.

Sperberg-McQueen says that this proposal has been chosen as open and acceptable by most of the protagonists:

In the short term, we need an approach that everyone can live with, that avoids foreclosing later long-term solutions as far as is possible, and that will allow the various specs now in limbo to move forward.

The fully documented proposition is to deprecate the usage of relative namespaces URIs:

Proposed: to deprecate the use of relative URI references in namespace declarations; that is: to say that while they conform to the Namespace Recommendation of January 1999, later specifications such as DOM, XPath, etc. will define no interpretation for them.

The vote will be organized as a referendum, each organization indicating if the proposal is acceptable for them. The result will be considered as advisory for the working groups:

If the Plenary decides in favor of the proposal, Working Groups preparing new specs will be advised to make those specs agree with the Plenary decision. (As always, the final decision on what a WG does rests with the WG, not with the Plenary: the Plenary decision is only advisory.)
If the Plenary does not decide in favor of the proposal, the status quo will remain unchanged.

Similar propositions had been made since the very beginning of the discussion by Dan Connolly (the case of two bats) and Simon St-Laurent (Status Quo) but they had never convinced Tim Berners-Lee:

So there is a body of thought that absolutizing is right. And some code. And some specs. The same applied to literal comparison. The difference is that is we settle for URIs not being URIs, then RDF comes down like a house of cards, wheras if we go for absolutization then we probably don't have any real documents which fail.

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