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   XML modeling question (generic vs. specific elements)

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  • From: "Brian Fitzpatrick" <bmf@opentext.com>
  • To: <xml-dev@xml.org>
  • Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2000 14:45:38 -0500

I'm modeling the XML used to export a system that contains a set of known
objects with unique meta-data for each object and it also has the ability to
be extended to add additional objects and meta-data.

The known objects have a set of containment rules, but any additional custom
objects will have their own unique containment rules, including being
contained in one of the known objects, and unique meta-data.

So, I'm debating between the following models and looking for guidance:

1.) Modeling the known objects and containment in a DTD with named elements
for each object. This would be the "from the factory" DTD. Allowing each
site to extend the DTD using entities in the content models to allow the DTD
to be extended with unique elements for the additional objects.

2.) Modeling all objects as a generic element with attributes such as
objectName="name" objectType="type". The meta-data for the elements would
have to be generic as well, basically just name/value pairs.

The primary concern is making it easy for clients to consume the XML across
different installations of this system, where the set of additional objects
is variable or non-existent.

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