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   Announce: Automated XML transformation

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  • From: Robert Worden <rworden@dial.pipex.com>
  • To: "xml-dev@lists.xml.org" <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>
  • Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2000 15:49:30 +0100

Charteris announce XMuLator, a tool for automated, meaning-driven XML 

The meaning of an XML language is defined by mapping its schema (= DTD, 
XDR) onto a UML-like  semantic model.  Then the tool can generate the XSLT 
transformation between any two XML  languages whose meanings overlap - to 
translate messages, preserving meaning.

This may involve doing complex structural transformations, not just tag 
substitution. e.g. XMuLator can generate transformations from fairly flat 
XMLs out of relational databases to deeply nested e-commerce XML languages, 
and back again.

The tool has automated support for validating transformations, including a 
stringent round-trip test. You can transform a message through  2, 3  or 
more languages back to the start  language, then check it has the same 
structure and values as you started with.  XMuLator-generated 
transformations pass this test.

Typically UML entities (class instances) and attributes are represented 
simply and locally in XML. The tricky part is in UML associations (aka 
relations), which XML can represent in many different ways (e.g. nested 
elements, idrefs, shared element or attribute values) depending on their 
cardinality. XMuLator recognises these, and transforms between them.  It 
does not do XLinks!

The big win is in the cost of building transformations. It is quicker to 
define semantic mappings than to write and debug XSLT. Also you beat the 
N-squared problem; the cost of creating all N(N-1) possible transforms 
between N different languages grows only as N,  not as N squared.  As XML 
languages proliferate and N-squared goes through the roof, we think this is 
going to be very important for B2B and EAI.

For information about XMuLator, see http://www.charteris.com or email me. 
For background on the problem it addresses, see 

Robert Worden


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