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RE: [xml-dev] XML Design Guidelines for Facilitating the Creation and Processing of Compound Documents

The best advice I have comes from Dr. Charles Goldfarb:  Conserve nouns.

It's a challenge of resolution over reference space complexity. 

Even if processed, humans use the output.  As in behavioral programming
(interactive document design vs compounding), program back from the end
states of the uses of the document.   

Are the uses the reason for compounding?  IOW, is the compounding a result
of interactive screen design or printed forms?

Why compounds?


From: Costello, Roger L. [mailto:costello@mitre.org] 

Hi Folks,

What guidelines would you recommend to someone who: 

   - wants to create an XML vocabulary, 

   - that will be combined with other XML vocabularies to create a compound
instance document, 

   - which will be processed by applications?

In other words, what XML designs will facilitate the creation and processing
of compound documents?

Below is a list of guidelines that I have come up with. Are there other
guidelines that you recommend?  


Namespaces are key to creating compound documents that can be effectively
processed. Applications can partition compound documents along the lines
identified by namespaces, thus enabling module-specific processing.

1. When designing a schema, associate the XML vocabulary it creates with a
namespace. Thus the first guideline is to identify each XML vocabulary via a
namespace. Here's an example of a Book XML vocabulary identified by the
http://www.book.org namespace: 

    <Book xmlns="http://www.book.org";>
         <Author>Richard Bach</Author>
         <Publisher>Dell Publishing Co.</Publisher>

Conversely, do not identify the XML vocabulary by embedding a unique
identifier inside an element or attribute. Here's an example of the Book XML
vocabulary identified using a GUID embedded inside an element: 

         <Author>Richard Bach</Author>
         <Publisher>Dell Publishing Co.</Publisher>

2. If the schema language used to create the XML vocabulary provides the
option of namespace-qualifying all elements or namespace-qualifying only
global elements, choose the former. For example, the W3C XML Schema language
allows you to specify "all elements must be qualified in the instance
document" by setting:


Conversely, it allows you to specify "only qualify globally declared
elements in the instance document" by setting:


Don't use the latter as it destroys the value of namespaces. Instead, use
the former as it maximizes the value of namespaces.

3. Use standard filename suffixes: .xsd (W3C XML Schema), .rng (ISO RELAX
NG), .sch (ISO Schematron), .dtd (W3C DTD). Although it is technically
accurate to, say, suffix an XML Schema file with .xml, it is preferable to
use .xsd as the latter enables applications to more easily recognize an XML
vocabulary's schema language.

4. Design your schema maximizing the use of globally declared elements. Each
globally declared component is a potential compound document component. For
example, with this schema both BookStore and Book can be used as a component
in a compound document:

    <element name="BookStore">
            <element ref="Book" maxOccurs="unbounded" />

    <element name="Book"> ... </element>

Conversely, this schema only allows BookStore to be used as a component in a
compound document: 

    <element name="BookStore">
            <element name="Book" maxOccurs="unbounded"> ... </element>

What else would you add to this list?


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