There is no XML without namespaces

Yes, this makes two blog posts today, and yes, I’m going to talk about XML again.

I’ve suspected this for a while, but hadn’t looked into it. Thanks to Sam Ruby, I see that someone has: Who knows an XML document from a hole in the ground? shows that indeed, a lot of RSS/Atom parsers are not reading XML as XML… or at least, they’re not understanding the namespaces.

This wasn’t a problem when most feeds were bare-bones, and before Atom. Now, only a couple of years after I expected, all sorts of data and metada is starting to be put into feeds, with lots of different namespaces.

This is one of those things were if you’re a feed reader, and you don’t understand namespaces, you are broken, and need to be fixed. There’s no way around it, end of story.

That being said, I’m much more optimistic now than I was about those fixes actually happened. Phil Ringnalda’s Atom title tests really did help and pushed a lot more readers into supporting it properly. Now let’s see some real XML parsing.

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2 Responses to There is no XML without namespaces

  1. Well said.

    And to hammer home the point — the “X” in “XML” stands for “eXtensible”. Without the namespaces you don’t really get extensibility.

  2. And they are getting fixed. I got notifications from a couple of developers that they have committed pertinent patches. Overall, while I am still dismayed that so many people got it wrong even nowadays, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to witness it being accepted as needing correction without much quibbling. People just got on the case; that is heartening.

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