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Subject: Re: [office-comment] Section 1.5 - implementations SHOULD use thenamespace prefixes given.

On Mon, 2004-10-25 at 20:06, David A. Wheeler wrote:
> By all means, use namespaces, and encourage their use.
> But if you can encourage "standard" prefixes, that should be used
> unless there's some reason not to, it's more likely
> that one-off tools will work.  One-off tools are actually
> quite common, so let's remove a common source of errors for them.

"one-off" tools that can't handle namespaces will have many problems. 
For example, you mentioned HTML.  Well, such one-off tools will have
problems with XHTML, which is often to be found using the default
namespace (no prefix), and also often to be found using the "html"
prefix.  The only way not to have fragile tools is to support namespaces
properly.  We're stuck with that because the XHTML REC mandates
namespaces.  As I've said several times, the OOXML spec doesn't have to
do so, but either it should use namespaces, or it shouldn't.  My
argument is purely against the broken in-between.

> And besides... humans have to read this too.  If you insert
> random character names for the XML namespaces, a full implementation
> of namespaces is happy... but the humans having to debug bad
> data files sure aren't.  Please, create a common convention; that
> will make it easier for the poor humans who have to pick up
> the pieces.

Notice that the main concrete case that has been brought up has nothing
to do with "random character names" (I assume you mean "random character
prefixes").  It's the case of using the default namespace, i.e. *no*
prefix, i.e. even more human readable than the suggested mandate of

The snippet that David Faure posted:

  <text:numbered-paragraph text:level="1" text:style-name="L1">

Is hideously ample proof that it is very hard to reconcile "uses
namespaces" with "is human-readable".  Your best hope for this
human-readability is in allowing the default namespace, but then you're
right back to requiring *proper* namespace usage and not mandating

Uche Ogbuji                                    Fourthought, Inc.
http://uche.ogbuji.net    http://4Suite.org    http://fourthought.com
A hands-on introduction to ISO Schematron - http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/edu/x-dw-xschematron-i.html
Schematron abstract patterns - http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/xml/library/x-stron.html
Wrestling HTML (using Python) - http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2004/09/08/pyxml.html
Enterprise data goes high fashion - http://www.adtmag.com/article.asp?id=10061
Principles of XML design: Considering container elements - http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/xml/library/x-contain.html
Hacking XML Hacks - http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/xml/library/x-think26.html
A survey of XML standards - http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/xml/library/x-stand4/

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