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A method to Store and to Process Extensible Sets of Property Values

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000015346D
Original Publication Date: 2001-Oct-13
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
Document File: 6 page(s) / 54K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Properties are well-known mechanisms for parameterizing applications that are used in a wide spectrum of application domains. In the simplest form, a property associates a name with a value; the set of all properties is then a list of name-value pairs. In a more general form, properties may also associate a type with a name. This type specifies the syntax of values and it may restrict the range of values that can be bound to the property. Depending on the property’s type the set of values is finite or infinite and the value range can be continuous or discrete. One application of properties is in electronic markets to describe the products and services being offered and also to represent the customer characteristics. A user searching for an offer describes his requirements in terms of constraints which are matched with the products and services offered in the market place. The match-making of the user constraint with a set of product properties entails relating and comparing property values. Another application of such a property mechanism is to describe the characteristics of a given entity, such as a storage device, a computer, or a mobile communication device. The diverse characteristics of such devices are listed as a set of properties which can be used by IT processes to tailor their data processing for a particular entity. For example, consider rendering of some mark-up content on a mobile computing device: the content generating application can select the optimal mark-up based on the device’s profiling characteristics described through a set of properties. Another application of properties is to determine if some particular marked-up content, formatted for a device with an assumed set of properties, can actually be rendered on a device with a set of possibly differently valued properties. The rendering can occur if and only if the target rendering device’s properties are equivalent or superior to the properties assumed during content generation.

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A method to Store and to Process Extensible Sets of Property Values

  Properties are well-known mechanisms for parameterizing
applications that are used in a wide spectrum of application
domains. In the simplest form, a property associates a name with a
value; the set of all properties is then a list of name-value
pairs. In a more general form, properties may also associate a type
with a name. This type specifies the syntax of values and it may
restrict the range of values that can be bound to the property.
Depending on the property's type the set of values is finite or
infinite and the value range can be continuous or discrete.

One application of properties is in electronic markets to
describe the products and services being offered and also to
represent the customer characteristics. A user searching for an
offer describes his requirements in terms of constraints which
are matched with the products and services offered in the market
place. The match-making of the user constraint with a set of
product properties entails relating and comparing property
values.

Another application of such a property mechanism is to describe
the characteristics of a given entity, such as a storage device,
a computer, or a mobile communication device. The diverse
characteristics of such devices are listed as a set of properties
which can be used by IT processes to tailor their data processing
for a particular entity. For example, consider rendering of some
mark-up content on a mobile computing device: the content
generating application can select the optimal mark-up based on
the device's profiling characteristics described through a set of
properties.

Another application of properties is to determine if some
particular marked-up content, formatted for a device with an
assumed set of properties, can actually be rendered on a device
with a set of possibly differently valued properties. The
rendering can occur if and only if the target rendering device's
properties are equivalent or superior to the properties assumed
during content generation.

Common to these application scenarios is the necessity to compare
properties. Such a comparison is a specific form of a relation
which can be regarded as a function (F) mapping a pair of
property values (v, w) to a certain result value (e). The domain
of this function is the space formed by the cross-product of the
set V of valid property values as defined by the type of the
property. The range E is a set of values characterizing the
result of the relation over this space. Hence,

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F: V × V ⇒ E

F: [v, w ] → e (v, w c V; e c E)

The semantics of such a relation for property values depends on
the property type. A generic range E for the result of the
comparison between two property values, for instance, could be
{equality, superiority, inferiority, non-comparable}. The set can
alternatively contain distances between property values according
to some metrics.

If for a property P the set of valid values V has a finite number
of elements, we refer t...