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Re: [xml-dev] RESTful operations on document fragments

Robert Koberg wrote:
> Fragment identifiers seem pretty limited. Does the modifiable node need
> to have an ID attribute?

No - the various XPointer schemes, of which I think xpath1() should be 
sufficient, let you go beyond IDs.  (They may, of course, let you go too 
far to make sense in this usage.)

> Is it a complete replacement, a modification, a
> deletion of a small part of the target? How would you (the server)
> know? 

I'd stick with the usual meanings of GET/PUT/POST/DELETE in the REST 
environment.  The complete fragment would be gotten, put, posted, or 
deleted.  (I'd expect an error if I tried to address a fragment that 
didn't yet exist, or couldn't be resolved.  There are around a billion 
questionable cases involving identifiers that point to more than one 
location, of course.)

> But, if you are working off the file system, you would need to
> load/parse the entire file to find what you want to modify. 

I'm thinking of something smarter than that, though I haven't reached 
those details yet.  Without a way to communicate from client to server 
that "I want to do X on Y fragment", the back end doesn't matter much.

> It seems like XQuery and an XML DB would be the way to go.
> http://www.w3.org/TR/xquery-update-10-requirements/

That's an option in the back end of the application, but since XQuery 
wasn't built with full Create-Read-Update-Delete (CRUD), it doesn't map 
neatly to what I'd like to do.

> But I like working off the file system too. It is great for distributed
> collaboration and version control. Perhaps some kind of combination of
> SAX and XSL is a way to go. Run through the document using some kind of
> XML writer until you find the target (sent as a request parameter that
> is an XPath along with the type of modification). When you find it pipe
> it, along with the update, into a transformation that does a merge.
> Probably something like this exists?

In various pieces and parts, yes - but I think that coming up with a 
clean approach that could work reliably across applications is more 
important right now than figuring out what the inside of the app looks like.

Simon St.Laurent
Retiring XML troublemaker

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