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RE: Relationships [was RE: James Clark: XML versus theWeb]

  • From: "Costello, Roger L." <costello@mitre.org>
  • To: "xml-dev@lists.xml.org" <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>
  • Date: Mon, 6 Dec 2010 06:50:57 -0500

RE:  Relationships [was RE: James Clark: XML versus theWeb]
Michael Kay wrote:

> A general problem is that there are many different mechanisms 
> for describing relationships in XML, and none of them has 
> particularly expressive semantics.

Is there some other technology or research that has solved this problem of expressing relationships? If so, could it be mimicked or recast into a proper format for use with XML?

/Roger



-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Kay [mailto:mike@saxonica.com] 
Sent: Monday, December 06, 2010 6:33 AM
To: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
Subject: Re:  Relationships [was RE: James Clark: XML versus the Web]


> In your messages I see the words "relationship" and "modeling" appearing repeatedly. That seems to be a key concept.
>
> Consider this XML snippet:
>
> <BookStore>
>      <Book>
>          ...
>      </Book>
>      <Book>
>          ...
>      </Book>
> </BookStore>
>
> That snippet shows a relationship between BookStore and Book; namely, BookStore consists of Books. Is that an example of the kind of relationships you are talking about?

That's one kind of relationship (what UML would call an aggregation 
relationship, represented here by hierarchic containment). Other common 
representations of relationships in XML are via ID/IDREF (that is, 
primary key / foreign key), and via cross-document URIs. There are other 
mechanisms, for example XSD and XSLT make heavy use of QNames. XSD also 
allows relationships to be described on any data type, or on composite 
key values, using xs:key/xs:keyref. A general problem is that there are 
many different mechanisms for describing relationships in XML, and none 
of them has particularly expressive semantics.

Michael Kay
Saxonica

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