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Subject: Re: [office] Formula subcommittee status

On Fri, Jul 21, 2006 at 02:28:53PM -0400, David A. Wheeler wrote:
> No, they're widely used (XSLT 1.0, XML Schemas, Canonical XML, etc.).
> It's true that some complain about them.

To be fair all of those usages can be traced back to their usage in
XPath--it's not as if each spec independently evaluated whether
namespaced attribute values were intrinsically a good idea.

> * We NEED to be able to distinguish between different formula languages.
>    This supports painless upgrades, for example, and that's critically important.
> * Frankly, the alternatives I know of look worse.  There is a _reason_ people
>    put QNames in attributes: they solve a problem.  Having a separate
>    "namespace-naming" attribute, or having a full URL embedded as a prefix in
>    each attribute, is far worse.

These are valid arguments for having a prefixed attribute value--not
necessarily for tying it into namespaces per se.

The practical problem with namespaced attribute values is that it
makes the XML processing pipeline significantly more complex--you have
to ensure that all the prefixes are sent through in addition to the
URIs (because the XML parsers themselves are oblivious to attribute

If you instead explicitly reserved the prefix "of:" in the OpenFormula
spec, then downstream processors would not need the namespace prefix
mappings--they could just look for the literal string "of:". You could
follow the HTTP or SMTP model of requiring non-standardized prefixes
to start with "x-".


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