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   Architecture Forms and XML Schema

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  • From: David Wang <dwang@mitre.org>
  • To: xml-dev <xml-dev@xml.org>
  • Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 11:02:42 -0500

Perhaps I'm seriously out of date on this, but I'll try anyway...

How is Architecture Forms progressing nowadays?  In comparison to XSL,
XML Schema, XLink, etc it seems to not have a lot of W3C exposure, and
after reading David Megginson's Structuring XML Documents book (May
1998), I have several questions about AF:

1) How is using element/attribute forms different than equivClass?  I
see element/attribute forms as a free mapping between two schemas, where
as equivClass is a more rigid sort of mapping between the types of two
schemas, but other than that they both allow associations to be made at
the schema level.

2) AF seems to suffer from name collisions and introduces all sorts of
renaming, ignoring, and suppressing attributes to deal with it.  That
does not seem "clean" to me for some reason.  XML Scheme uses xmlns
attributes to deal with it.

3) AF allows bidirectional mapping between elements and attributes with
different syntax.  It seems to want to enable the expression of
relations between elements without being bound by schema structure. 
Once again, the difference in syntax and use makes me wonder whether AF
is something that is being "shoehorned" into XML from SGML and if there
is a better specification of what it's actually trying to do - draw
equivalence relations between elements and attributes.

But what it does well is hide all this complexity in the schema layer so
that the authors have to do very little to have the interop benefits.

So ultimately, it appears to me that XML Schema has resolved a lot of
the AF issues I've noticed, so I wonder about its fate.  Or am I just
totally off and out in left field about what AF is all about, and if so,
could someone steer me in the right direction? :-)


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