Namespace (computer Science)

Namespace (computer Science)

A namespace (sometimes also called a name scope) is an abstract container or environment created to hold a logical grouping of unique identifiers or symbols (i.e., names). An identifier defined in a namespace is associated only with that namespace. The same identifier can be independently defined in multiple namespaces. That is, the meaning associated with an identifier defined in one namespace may or may not have the same meaning as the same identifier defined in another namespace. Languages that support namespaces specify the rules that determine to which namespace an identifier (not its definition) belongs.

This concept can be illustrated with an analogy. Imagine that two companies, X and Y, each assign ID numbers to their employees. X should not have two employees with the same ID number, and likewise for Y; but it is not a problem for the same ID number to be used at both companies. For example, if Bill works for company X and Jane works for company Y, then it is not a problem for each of them to be employee #123. In this analogy, the ID number is the identifier, and the company serves as the namespace. It does not cause problems for the same identifier to identify a different person in each namespace.

In large computer programs or documents it is not uncommon to have hundreds or thousands of identifiers. Namespaces (or a similar technique, see Emulating namespaces) provide a mechanism for hiding local identifiers. They provide a means of grouping logically related identifiers into corresponding namespaces, thereby making the system more modular.

Data storage devices and many modern programming languages support namespaces. Storage devices use directories (or folders) as namespaces. This allows two files with the same name to be stored on the device so long as they are stored in different directories. In some programming languages (e.g. C++, Python), the identifiers naming namespaces are themselves associated with an enclosing namespace. Thus, in these languages namespaces can nest, forming a namespace tree. At the root of this tree is the unnamed global namespace.

Read more about Namespace (computer Science):  Emulating Namespaces

Other articles related to "namespaces":

Namespace (computer Science) - Emulating Namespaces
... In programming languages lacking language support for namespaces namespacescan be emulated to some extent by using an identifier naming convention ... For example,C libraries e.g ... Likewise,many packages originally written in Fortran e.g ...