A method to Store and to Process Extensible Sets of Property Values
Original Publication Date: 2001-Oct-13
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
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.