Firefox and namespace nodes: an open plea

[21 October 2009]

One of the long-standing gaps in Mozilla’s support for XSLT 1.0 is its failure to support the XPath namespace axis; for the many stylesheets that don’t use that axis, the gap is not a problem. But access to the namespace axis is essential for many stylesheets that work upon XSLT stylesheets, or XSD schema documents, or any other documents which may have namespace-qualified data in attribute values and element content; Firefox’s failure to support it means that browser-based tools for those vocabularies must often carry warnings like “Works with everything except Firefox.” What a drag.

So it was encouraging, early this year, when a team of students at Simon Fraser University provided a fix for the bug. (Thank you, SFU! Way to go!) What I don’t understand is: given that there is a fix, given that it passes all the tests, given that this fix removes one of the major blots on Firefox’s XSLT conformance, why isn’t it in the product yet?

I wonder if it’s because the responsible parties don’t perceive the bug or the fix as important; that would be understandable, since with 17 votes in favor of fixing the issue, this bug is way down among the weeds. If that’s the reason, then perhaps it would help if those who do feel the bug is important were to raise the vote total of the relevant bug a bit.

So if you care about XSLT support and have a login ID on, please navigate to bug 94270 and vote for the bug. (Click the ‘vote’ link next to the display of the Importance field.) If you care about XSLT support in Firefox and don’t have a login ID on, I urge you to consider getting a login ID, so you can vote for this bug.

If anyone reading this has insight into the dynamics of getting a fix that’s ready and tested into the next release, I for one would be interested to learn more.

[My evil twin Enrique has produced a poetic version of this plea, addressed to the committers of Firefox:

Without a warning, you broke my heart.
I’ve got this QName to take apart,
But the namespace axis returned no nodes.
Can’t find no binding to guide my code.

So come on, Firefox, Firefox please!
an’ I’m beggin’ you, Firefox, and I’m on my knees.
Please fix this bug,
Accept the patch.
The namespace axis —
Let it match, let it match, let it match.

I’d refuse to include it, as being a sacrilege against the memory of Ron McKernan, but he’d just hack the web site and add it anyway. And if he did, he’d make it look as if I had included it myself, against my better judgement. He’s really past all controlling lately.]

One thought on “Firefox and namespace nodes: an open plea

  1. Thanks for bringing attention to this missing feature. I’d given up on Fx as an XML development platform years ago, mostly because of this.

Comments are closed.