[whatwg] [WA1] The profile Attribute

James Graham jg307 at cam.ac.uk
Sun Apr 17 06:11:56 PDT 2005

Ian Hickson wrote:
> On Sun, 17 Apr 2005, Lachlan Hunt wrote:
>>>Imagine you use publicly available profiles A and B.
>>>Two months later, the author of profile A updates his profile to 
>>>include the definition "baz", meaning something completely different 
>>>to the definition from profile B.
>>Well, I'd say the author of profile A has broken some rules by not 
>>keeping the URI for an old version persistent.
> There is no way we are requiring a new URI every time the profile changes. 
> That would be an administrative nightmare for editors, authors, and UA 
> implementors. It would make working out common semantics nigh on 
> impossible. IMHO, anyway.
>>>The only way I can see to avoid this is to use only one profile, since 
>>>then you can't ever get clashes.
>>There are other ways I've seen proposed, such as using namespaces:
> Namespaces are not an option. Authors simply don't understand them.

Respectfully, I think namespaces are the only sensible solution here and 
in other situations where the document is mixing semantics from multiple 
sources. What's the evidence that authors don't understand namespaces? 
Does it all come from XML namespaces (which are more complex than 
anything we would need for this type of problem*)? In any case I think 
this is a situation where, with sensible defaults, we can provide a 
useful feature that will be well within the grasp of the small subset of 
authors who actually want to use it.

* For example we could define <profile name="foo" 
href="http://example.com/profiles/#foo" /> and then require a profile 
attribute for elements with rel values not assosiated with the default 
profile, which would be given by the value of the profile attribute in 
<head> or the last <profile> element with no <name> value. That seems 
much simpler than XML namespaces.

"Sir: "Offence" is not confined to the religious. I take offence at 
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", "Jingle Bells" and all that they stand 
for; at ten-gallon hats and other symbols of American aggression; at 
slit-eyed black veils and other symbols of the oppression of women; at 
First Communion veils, and other symbols of the indoctrination of 
children. But I do not start a riot when I encounter them, nor try to 
get them banned by law. I mutter through gritted teeth and turn the 
other way.

There is a case to be made that all of us should try to avoid giving 
gratuitous offence to others. But how has our secular society been 
conned into allowing religious offence to jump the queue and claim 
special privileges?"

- Richard Dawkins (The Independent, 24th December 2004)

More information about the whatwg mailing list