The support for data updates provided by the XFN API is superior to that of the getXbyY() interfaces. Most namespaces are composed of data from multiple sources. A groups namespace, for example, might contain information from both the /etc/group file and the NIS+ group.org_dir object. But the switch file does not provide enough information for an application update routine to identify the source of some particular piece of group data or the source to update.
Because each FNS subordinate namespace comes entirely from a single name service, updates are simple and straightforward because there is no confusion over which name service the update applies to.