RE: Contexts, Rules and Scalable Schemas (WAS RE: Are people r
You've hit on the most common recurring conflict that I've faced in the past four years of negotiating DTDs at the USPTO. While some of us want context-free (system-independent) DTDs, others want them sharply focused on specific business issues at hand. This is similar to, but not the same as, the document/data dichotomy discussed elsewhere in this forum. Both poles of this scale have their use. While top management has seen the value of capturing patent applications in a DTD sufficiently context-free to work for EPO, JPO, WIPO, and USPTO, many of the troops who have to implement them pull out their hair when confronted with the resulting abstractions. A multi-layered enterprise architecture takes time to implement; it takes time to get all the components in place and working harmoniously. We have a lot of reflexes to overcome to realize the full value of context-independent markup. Bruce B. Cox U.S. Patent & Trademark Office SA4XMLT +1-703-306-2606 -----Original Message----- From: Bullard, Claude L (Len) [mailto:len.bullard@i...] Sent: Tuesday, August 17, 2004 11:05 AM To: Cox, Bruce; Roger L. Costello; xml-dev@l... Subject: Contexts, Rules and Scalable Schemas (WAS RE: Are people really using Identity constraints specified in XML schema?) It might be fair to say without regard to technology: o Schemas are made as context independent as possible to enable them to be applied in more contexts (they scale) o Business rules are contexts (semantics don't scale without force being applied. Use of force is itself, a context-dependent operation with rules). Value-focused Thinking methods might be applicable here. One needs to identify fundamental objectives that are independent. Dependencies among these indicate hidden objectives (undiscovered) or that a means objective (think, sub-goal) has been misapplied as a fundamental objective. len From: Cox, Bruce [mailto:Bruce.Cox@U...] Are business rules semantics? I take that question to mean that some business rules can be fully automated since they are about properties of data that succumb to, for example, XML Schema data typing, while others are more problematic and may require methods not easily automated. In the case of patent document numbers, the goal would be to "ensure shared data is recognized" and only then processed for the current purpose. I certainly appreciate the benefit of using DTDs with their lack of content validation. Without that characteristic, it is unlikely that the patent offices of the world would have agreed on a common vocabulary for patent applications and publications. Now that we are on the verge of exchanging instances internationally, that characteristic may bite us by impairing interoperability due to significant variances between the start and end tags for any given element. Document numbers are a special case, in that they are critical to establishing the relationship among patents filed and granted in different countries. Accuracy is sufficiently important to be spending millions of USD a year to correct bad numbers provided by applicants or other offices. In this one case, I hope there is some way to express the validation rules independently of custom code so that we can describe the rules to each other unambiguously and implement them consistently. With XML Schema data typing, followed by Schematron, what would come next to cover the residue? I don't think anything to do with document numbers can't be automatically validated.
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