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Content constraints description for HTML/XML Disclosure Number: IPCOM000015969D
Original Publication Date: 2002-Oct-10
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-21

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Disclosed is a method to describe constraints to be imposed on the contents of structured documents assumed to be in either HTML or any XML based languages). The method is to describe constraints using XPath Expressions and Regular Expressions. The described constraints can then be used by test systems to validate contents of the documents. For computer systems whose output are in an HTML/XML language, it's useful to have a simple method to describe constraints on contents of output when output from the systems are to be tested. An example of such systems is a Web Server which output HTML documents. Another example is a server providing Web Services which output XML documents. The method disclosed in this RD is to use pairs of XPath Expression and Regular Expression to describe a constraint. An XPath Expression determines a location (or locations) within the target HTML/XML document and associated Regular Expression specifies what contents the pointed location(s) must have. For example, XPath Expression and Regular Expression pair, ("/HTML/BODY/P[1]", "^Hello M[rs]\. .*\.$"), specifies that the 1st

element under element (which is under element) must start with "Hello Mr." or "Hello Ms." strings and must end with a dot. So an output "Hello Mr. Children." is OK but "Hello World." does not meet the specification. Using this method brings the following advantages. Easy to understand, modify, copy, and share with others because constraints are represented in well known text form. Parts of output to be tested can vary from time to time. Using Regular Expression, such dynamic varying output can be checked. Location(s) to be checked can be specified in a relative form as well as in an absolute form. Also meta characters can be used to specify locations. This flexibility in XPath specification is useful to cope with structure changes of output documents. 1