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   Attributes with Intent

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  • From: David Megginson <ak117@freenet.carleton.ca>
  • To: xml-dev@ic.ac.uk
  • Date: Mon, 4 May 1998 08:33:07 -0400

Peter Murray-Rust writes:

 > It's reasonable to assume that generic text-aware XML software
 > might be asked "please find all elements in a document which are
 > expressed in German." It can't look for all elements with
 > xml:lang="de" because they don't have this explicitly. So general
 > mechanisms such as XPointers can't be used, and bespoke software
 > must be written. This software (presumably) finds all elements
 > which *do* have the attribute and continues recursively.

>From a logical perspective, your query is simply

  Find all elements in a document where the element or the nearest
  ancestor with a value for the xml:lang attribute specifies "de" as
  the attribute's value.

With SDQL, for example, this test is surprisingly simple:

  (equal? (inherited-attribute-string "xml:lang") "de")

Your point is well-taken, though: fragments of XML documents are often
tightly bound to their context (similar situations would involve
attributes for effectivity, security level, revision status, etc.).

All the best,


David Megginson                 ak117@freenet.carleton.ca
Microstar Software Ltd.         dmeggins@microstar.com

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