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Method for Hierarchical XML Specialization Disclosure Number: IPCOM000132408D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Dec-13
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Dec-13
Document File: 2 page(s) / 87K

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A method for specializing XML documents by specifying a base XML document and modifications to it. The method applies to a hierarchy of specializations, where a single base XML document is iteratively specialized and re-specialized according to a specified hierarchy.

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Method for Hierarchical XML Specialization

Disclosed is a method for maintaining variations of an XML document according to a hierarchy of specializations. An XML document is specialized by applying a set of deltas (changes) to it, where a delta can add, remove or modify an element within the document. For example the device-independent contents of a web page can be specialized for device-specific browsers such as for desktop computers and web-enabled PDAs and phones. The specialization for small devices can have a sub-specialization for phones and another for PDAs, thus forming a hierarchy.

The semantics of a specialization hierarchy are those of inheritance: any given specialization inherits the XML document from its parent in the hierarchy. Thus, when modifying the XML document for a specialization S , the document for all specializations descending from S are also modified. In the example above, removing an image from the document corresponding to the "phones" specialization causes it to be removed from all specializations corresponding to specific phone types as well.

The inputs of the method are as follows.

A specialization hierarchy tree, where each node of the tree has a corresponding XML document
A base XML document, corresponding to the root of the tree For each node in the tree, a set of document-specific deltas that describe how the XML document corresponding to that node differs from the XML document corresponding to its parent. Each delta is an addition, deletion, move, value change or attribute-change of an element.

The output of the method is the set of XML documents corresponding to the nodes of the tree. For any specified node in the tree, its corresponding XML document is formed by starting with the base XML document and applying to it the modifications along the path from the root to the specified node. A preferred embodiment of this method employs a computational engine, an XML Specializer , to perform this computation of repeatedly applying deltas to XML documents.

The key characteristics of the method are as follows.

The base document, specialized documents, and specialization hierarchy can all be modified at any point:

The base document can be modified directly by normal editing operations.

A specialized document can be modified by affecting the set of deltas between it and its parent in the hierarchy.

The specialization hierarchy can be modified by inserting or removing hierarchy nodes. A change made to a document is reflected in a...