[whatwg] The problems with namespaces in text/html (Was: MathML-in-HTML5)

Robert mail at robbiegee.com
Mon Oct 9 05:24:57 PDT 2006

Ian Hickson wrote:
> In browsers today, the following:
>     <a href="test" xmlns=""> ... </a>
>  ...is just a link. If we start supporting xmlns="" as it works in XML,  
> but in HTML, then literally millions of pages are going to suddenly have  
> their links stop working, because <a> in the "" namespace (as opposed to  
> the XHTML namespace), is not an HTML <a>, and thus isn't a link.

How about defining a standard namespace _prefix_ for such additions to  
HTML? As far as I've seen, all browsers interpret the namespace prefix as  
part of the tag/attribute, such that for MATHML in HTML, you'd use  
<math:add>. It'd require the author use the prefix for all relevant tags,  
but it should work without changing anything fundamental in UAs that might  
break other sites. As far as I'm aware, since namespaces don't exist in  
HTML there's nothing particularily "evil" about this.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some frikkin' lasers to assemble.
- Robert Græsdal

More information about the whatwg mailing list