[whatwg] The problems with namespaces in text/html

Elliotte Harold elharo at metalab.unc.edu
Sat Nov 4 13:56:35 PST 2006

Anne van Kesteren wrote:

> I've no idea about XForms, but the plan for MathML is that you can write 
> it without bothering about namespaces, but that it ends up having 
> namespaces in the DOM.

Then this is what I feared, and it's not sensible. Enabling mixed 
HTML/MathML to be processed with generic tools and MathML specific tools 
requires that it have the namespace, including all the necessary 
namespace attributes. See


for some more thoughts on this.

Folks, adding a few xmlns:math or xmlns attributes to a document just 
isn't that bad. It is in fact one of the least complex things anyone 
trying to write MathML will have to deal with. MathML has a lot worse 
than this. Ditto for XForms.

This is like making the driver's seat in a car a little more comfortable 
by ripping out the steering wheel. It makes no sense. It is a phobia 
that leads to misjudgement the relative problems with different options. 
  Namespaces do a lot more good than harm. They are necessary to the 
proper design of documents. The problem at hand is exactly what 
namespaces are designed to do. Please let them do it.

Elliotte Rusty Harold  elharo at metalab.unc.edu
Java I/O 2nd Edition Just Published!

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