XML News from Saturday, March 10, 2007

The W3C HTML Working Group has posted the first public working draft of CURIE Syntax 1.0: A syntax for expressing Compact URIs. This is modeled after namespace URIs and qualified names. IN brief, it defines a prefix for a known base URI, then apends a colon and a local part. For example, the CURIE cafe:tradeshows.xml could be shorthand for http://www.cafeaulait.org/tradeshows.xml if the prefix cafe were mapped to the URL http://www.cafeaulait.org/. Exactly how prefixes are mapped to URIs is left to the specification of the documents in which the CURIEs appear. However if the CURIEs are in an XML document, then the namespaces in scope define the prefix mappings. The default namespace can be used for prefix-less CURIEs.

Frankly I'm surprised to see this. Namespaces and the namespace syntax are one of the notable failures of the XML world. Why someone would choose to imitate this now that we know better is beyond me. Based on experience with namespaces, I predict that the problems of cutting and pasting CURIEs from one context to another are going to be especially problematic. Well, we've learned to live with (if not exactly like) namespaces. I guess we can get used to this.