2007-02-02

NameSpace Monkey

What do I Put at the End of a Namespace URI? Nothing! Ok, so this isn't really helpful. The problem here is that humans see a URL, so they want to point their Web browser at it to see what they get. This is a purely human thing, and is a consequence of the decision to standardise URIs for namespaces. To quote Claude L. Bullard (from the XML-Dev email list): The flaw is the conflation of name, location and identity, but that flaw is the basic feature by which the WWW runs, so we are stuck there. All the handwaving about URN/URI/URL doesn't avoid the simple fact that if one puts http:// anywhere in browser display space, the system colors it blue and puts up a finger. The monkey expects a resource and when it doesn't get one, this shocks the monkey. Monkeys don't read specs to find out why they shouldn't be shocked. They turn red and put up a finger. What many people do to avoid this "shock" factor is post a document that describes the namespace to the errant viewer. A new idea that builds on this approach, and is now emerging from XML-dev, is RDDL (the Resource Directory Description Language).
© XML Namespaces Explained, sitepoint.com

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