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The W3C Announces "Namespaces in XML" as a W3C Recommendation

The World Wide Web Consortium Thursday announced the "Namespaces in XML" specification as an official W3C recommendation.

Along with the W3C's Extensible Markup Language (XML) recommendation, this new specification enables developers to utilize two or more XML-based languages in a document without any conflicts or ambiguity.

The W3C believes that this recommendation will promote the "modular development and reuse of XML languages and applications." By making such a recommendation, the W3C is indicating that the specification is stable, contributes to Web interoperability and has been reviewed by the W3C membership who are in favor of its adoption and use in the industry.

The "Namespaces in XML" specification is designed to resolve potential name clashes by using the standard Web addressing infrastructure. By prefixing each element name in a document with a unique address, the name is precisely qualified.

The W3C XML Working Group created and developed the "Namespaces in XML" specification. Members of the Working Group include Adobe, ArborText, DataChannel, Hewlett-Packard, IBM Corp., Inso, Isogen, Microsoft Corp., NCSA, Netscape Communications Corp., Oracle Corp., SoftQuad, Sun Microsystems Inc., Texcel, Vignette, and Fuji Xerox.

The way Namespaces in XML works is this: Every XML document contains elements in a fashion similar to HTML documents (HTML elements include "P", "TABLE", etc.). XML, on the other hand, enables developers to create their own elements to suit their individual needs. A collection of these elements is called a "namespace."

The W3C Recommendation indicates how to mix two or more of these namespaces, and ensures that when two namespaces contain an element that uses the same name, applications are able to distinguish the names by a prefix.