questions and recommend books about refactoring of xml-schematas and the transformation of xml-docum

Discussion in 'XML' started by HL, Oct 20, 2006.

  1. HL

    HL Guest

    Hello everybody :)
    Next year I`ll write my diploma in computer science for business (It`s
    a degree in Germany) and I`ve some questions about the topic. The
    diploma will handle about refactoring of xml-schemes and a
    transformation of all instances (the xml-documents) with XSLT-scripts.

    The idea of the diploma is, that in nearly every company xml schemes
    are used. And (like Heraklit said "Panta rhei" - everthing is flowing)
    the business processes in companys could be changed. If an xml- scheme
    has to be changed (refactored), what to do with all instances of these
    Is it possible to create an XSLT-script that transforms all instances
    of the old scheme into instances of the new, refactored scheme? The
    diploma will handle about questions like what information you need for
    the transformation, what operations are possible for the
    transformation, etc.

    A simple example is to refactor an xml scheme with one element and to
    transform an attribute of the element A to a different element in the
    content on the first position of the element A.

    I`ll write the diploma next year and all questions are only an
    investigation on the topic.

    Can anybody recommend some good books about the refactoring of
    something like this? I`ve read the book "XML in a Nutshell" and
    "Refactoring" (Martin Fowler), but I couldn`t find any information
    about this.

    What do you think about the topic? Do you see there any big problems ?
    I pondered about the topic the last weeks and I think it`s ok, without
    big problems. After the analysis of the transformation I`ll design and
    implement a tool for the refactoring of these.

    Thanks and sorry for my bad english,

    PS: if you find mistakes in my text, pleas tell me, so I can correct
    them to improve my english :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 20, 2010
    HL, Oct 20, 2006
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  2. HL

    Andy Dingley Guest

    > Is it possible to create an XSLT-script that transforms all instances
    > of the old scheme into instances of the new, refactored scheme?

    No. Isn't this what we spent 2000 discovering we couldn't do?

    There are two problems: You can't do it. If you could do it, it's A
    Hard Problem to write the XSLT that does do it for you. Both of these
    problems are too hard to do practically, for typical examples.

    The reasons it's hard are two-fold:

    Firstly, XML and XSLT work with opaque nodes of data held in an XML
    structure. Although XSLT transforms this XML structure quite easily,
    it's hard to work with the data nodes themselves. You _can_ operate on
    the nodes too, although XSLT isn't ideal for this - even simple string
    manipulation is painful. If dimensions in a node need translation from
    imperial to metric measurements then that's implementable in XLST (i.e.
    it can and has been done) but it's not a task that XSLT is optmised

    Secondly, and more fundamentally, XSLT can only map around XML
    structures. It has no conceptual understanding of their underlying
    meaning. Making a process for this needs an expression language that
    can link an ontological understanding of a node to the concept behind
    it (this is more than a mere schema). It also needs some automatic tool
    that can take these ontologies and generate appropriate XSLT from them.

    More frequently, it recognises that two XML elements both called
    "reason-code" and with XML Schema units that dimension them as "length
    [feet]" and "length [metres]" may yet be derived from fundamentally
    different ontological domains, despire their evident similarity. If the
    _concepts_ don't overlap cleanly and equally, then simple structural
    transforms just aren't capable of achieving what's needed.

    There's a vast body of published work on this topic over the last few
    years. Make sure you look at "Schematron" and "OWL" too.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2010
    Andy Dingley, Oct 20, 2006
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  3. HL

    HL Guest

    @ Andy Dingley
    Firstly, thanks for you answer :)

    I only post, because I need time to think (and also to discuss with
    other persons) about your answer. I`ll give you another answer as quite
    as possible :)
    HL, Oct 20, 2006
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