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   Re: transformations

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  • From: Jonathan Borden <jborden@mediaone.net>
  • To: "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>,XML-Dev Mailing list <xml-dev@xml.org>
  • Date: Mon, 20 Nov 2000 16:30:43 -0500

Simon St.Laurent wrote:

> I'm pondering the state of transformations in XML while preparing a
> presentation about 'transformations as a way of life', and I'm coming to
> the conclusion that we've oversold a few tools to the detriment of other
> possibilities.

I think currently there are several types of transformations listed from
simplest to most complex:

1) DTD/Schema attribute defaulting
2) Architectural Forms (element and attribute naming)

Interestingly these two operate at the pre validation level

3) XSLT and code

Which is generally post-validation

Perhaps now that XML Schemas are coming on the scene, it is time to consider
distinguishing between parsing and validation in terms of transformations
(which you suggested a couple of weeks ago :-). For example suppose a DTD
had an <?xml-stylesheet> PI ala an Architectural Form PI, might not this
direct the parser to perform a pre-validation transform?

> When I hear these discussions, I sometimes interject with suggestions
> SAX filters, architectural forms, Omnimark, and even (gasp) regular
> expressions.  Lately I've been thinking about using RDF to map
> relationships among vocabularies, though mostly I've got some pictures
> rather than RDF documents.  All of these possibilities have merit, and all
> of them receive some use in XML processing.

Speaking of XSLT, the feature I'd most like to see in 2.0 would be regexp
pattern matching in which case this would turn into an interesting little
language ...

> My favorite case is simple translation of element names, where markup
> to be presented to the user in his or her native language.  While many
> technologies are capable of doing this, making it work is pretty tricky
> when multiple languages are involved.  There's no unifying dictionary
> mechanism for querying 'is-a' relationships by language keys.  Instead,
> there are a lot of different ways to transform one element to another and
> preserve the content along the way.
> Jonathan Borden showed off some very cool work at XMLDevCon 2000 which got
> me thinking about these issues more deeply. I've been pondering the RDF
> modeling simply because it seems the easiest to manage and extend over the
> long term, but it's still just pondering at this point.

    Thanks, an example of an RDF syntax for expressing names in distinct
languages is the Alt construct, e.g.

    <rdf:li xml:lang="en">house</rdf:li>
    <rdf:li xml:lang="fr">chateau</rdf:li>
    <rdf:li xml:lang="sp">casa</rdf:li>

  As Steve Newcomb suggests, topic maps might be an alternate syntax for
expressing translation dictionaries ... which suggests a title for a talk
(designed to maximize hot topic keywords):

"Using XSLT to enable Topic Map and RDF translations of B2B e-Commerce
Frameworks over the Semantic Web" ... :-))

But seriously I think it is essential that we get a coherent integration of
TM and RDF along these lines.

Jonathan Borden
The Open Healthcare Group

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