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Re: Fwd: [xml-dev] Not using mixed content? Then don't use XML

This is nicely concrete.

On 4/9/13 4:45 AM, Andrew Welch wrote:
> One issue I still haven't found a good solution or answer to is when
> you have additional 'business rules' validation performed by the
> application:
> - application parses the xml and validates it using the xsd
> - the application then performs some additional validation of 'business rules'
> This has the following problem:
> - the xsd alone isn't sufficient for a 3rd party to check the xml will
> parse successfully
> Do you then:
> - move all the business rules into the XSD ?

No.  I would propose moving the other direction, treating all of the 
rules as "business" and not relying on schema for any layer of that.

> - provide 3rd parties with the parsing side of your app, so they can
> verify the xml using that ?

The only advantage I can think of to this proposal is that it makes 
sharing schemas seem easy by contrast...

> If you add all the business rules to the XSD, you then leave the 3rd
> party to decipher cryptic xsd failure messages- cvc-complexType
> anyone?  The 3rd party would much prefer some human readable docs,
> rather than learn XSD.

That last sentence is the key.  Too much of computing these days seems 
aimed at abolishing conversations among humans.  Docs are a perfectly 
adequate way to convey your intent.

Whether or not the other party wants to track your intent is a harder 
question.  Powerful bureaucracies tend to have little interest in your 
intent (unless you are comparably powerful).  Peers and newcomers may 
have interest, and may even be able to help you improve what you're 
asking for.

> Then, do you just expect the xml to be correct in your application, or
> do you still perform the business rule checks?  The reality of the
> situation is you have to perform the checks again, so then you open
> yourself up to a mismatch between xsd and application.  You would of
> course much prefer to provide the user with tailored errors messages,
> they would prefer that too.

I would argue for piling it all into business rule checks, with special 
emphasis on generating meaningful messages - not to mention an 
opportunity for human intervention so you have a sense of what's going 

Even "at scale", these things don't have to be fully automatic.  Partial 
automation goes a long way, especially when it can improve over iterations.

At least that's what the traveler's tales of the last fifteen years say 
to me.

Simon St.Laurent

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