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RE: variable, content-constructor, baseURI

From: Kay, Michael <Michael.Kay@softwareag.com>
Date: Fri, 28 Mar 2003 16:01:30 +0100
Message-ID: <DFF2AC9E3583D511A21F0008C7E621060453E1BD@daemsg02.software-ag.de>
To: Volker Renneberg <volker.renneberg@unibw-muenchen.de>, "Kay, Michael" <Michael.Kay@softwareag.com>, public-qt-comments@w3.org

We reviewed the question of whether xsl:copy-of should retain the base URI
of copied nodes  at the XSL Working Group meeting yesterday, and confirmed
our decision that it should not.

Copying relative URIs will always be a risky thing to do, whatever
technology you use for copying them. It's intrinsic to the concept of a
relative URI that its meaning depends on where it is, and that this can
change when you move it. Sometimes when you copy relative URIs, you actually
want them to point to a new place, relative to their new location. If you
don't want this behavior, you have two courses of action open to you: you
can absolutize the URI before copying it, or you can retain the original
base URI. The easiest way of doing this is to write an xml:base attribute to
the new tree.

The decision not to retain the original base URI on xsl:copy-of is
consistent with the decision that it isn't retained on serialization of a
final result tree (we never add xml:base attributes automatically). I think
these two operations should have the same behavior, so that a multi-phase
transformation works the same way whether the intermediate results are
serialized trees or temporary trees.

Regards,

Michael Kay

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Volker Renneberg [mailto:volker.renneberg@unibw-muenchen.de] 
> Sent: 27 March 2003 20:41
> To: Kay, Michael; public-qt-comments@w3.org
> Subject: Re: variable, content-constructor, baseURI
> 
> 
> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
> Hash: SHA1
> 
> Hi - Thanks for the answer and sorry for the delay - I was 
> pretty busy.
> 
> > There is a good reason why the base URI of a temporary tree 
> is derived 
> > from the base URI of the stylesheet, it is so that you can write:
> >
> > <xsl:variable name="x">relative.uri</xsl:variable>
> >
> > <xsl:apply-templates select="document($x)"/>
> >
> > This was already defined in XSLT 1.0.
> 
> Yes, as long as the nodes inside a variable declaration are "new" or 
> "constructed" their base URI can be the stylesheet base URI. 
> Though when 
> inserting nodes into a variable originating from a different 
> context (i. e. 
> created by reading a document via document()) the base URI should be 
> preserved. Another solution would be to introduce an attribute 
> "preserve-baseURI='true/false'" to the xsl:variable node.
> 
> > The other question you raise is whether base URI should be 
> preserved 
> > by <xsl:copy-of>. There are arguments both way on this, and 
> your use 
> > case is certainly a plausible one. The argument the other 
> way is that 
> > temporary trees should behave as far as possible in exactly 
> the same 
> > say as writing out a final result tree and reading it back in for 
> > another transformation. If nothing else, neither the XSLT 
> 1.0 nor XSLT 
> > 2.0 specifications say explicitly whether base URI is 
> copied or not, 
> > and this is clearly an omission.
> >
> > I think this is something that the WG should review, and I will 
> > register an issue to make sure it gets on the agenda. The 
> fact is that 
> > whatever we do, copying relative URIs from one place to another is 
> > always going to be risky (there is obviously no way that 
> the base URI 
> > can be maintained, for example, if you use xsl:value-of). 
> This would 
> > suggest that if you know the data contains relative URIs, 
> you should 
> > call the resolve-uri() function to make it absolute before 
> you copy it 
> > to a different place.
> 
> I agree on xsl:value-of. The result of this statement will 
> never be the 
> original tree as its content gets re-arranged (throwing away 
> all nodes, 
> keeping text).
> 
> I really appreciate the introduction of resolve-uri() into 
> XPath 2.0 but I do 
> not think this will solve the problem. To make this more 
> clear I think I have 
> to give a short introduction into my use-case:
> 
> In our student's education we have to produce exercise 
> sheets. Over the years 
> the task recur again and again. Thus having tasks and other 
> reusable data 
> kept separate is necessary. Tasks may import other files, 
> which again may 
> import files. But here only URIs relative to the including 
> files are used.  
> In order to produce several sheets there is one description file (a 
> sheetcollection) which contains information about the 
> included tasks). The 
> exercises are kept at a central location.
> 
> As structural information is kept in XML, XSL is reponsible 
> for copying 
> everything together into a big file (or producing exercise sheets 
> separately). The stylesheet takes one important parameter: 
> The location of 
> the task-repository.
> 
> This parameter is the reason why I moved all the 
> document()-IO into a callable 
> template. In case of more than one repository I only have to 
> change this 
> template and not all the other parts in the stylesheet where 
> files get 
> loaded. The template just "returns" the data loaded, not 
> processed by the 
> stylesheet because this depends on the calling context - and 
> here my problem 
> starts:
> 
> For processing the loaded data (returned from the called 
> template) it has to 
> be bound to a variable(e. g. "$data") -> loosing the base URI. If the 
> stylesheet decides that this data has to be evaluated further 
> it does a 
> for-each-select="$data" and apply-templates. Now in this 
> "$data" again files 
> may have to be loaded (file names relative to the file this 
> data has been 
> read from). When the stylesheet comes to the point where a 
> file has to be 
> loaded it does not know anything about the base URI anymore as this 
> information has been deleted when creating the variable "$data".
> 
> 
> To me it seems that called templates are not very useful when 
> data handling 
> depends on the original base URI. This is because every data 
> returned has to 
> be bound to a variable in order to "grab" it at later point. 
> On the other 
> hand callable templates are important for concentrating functionality.
> 
> OK, there is a solution but this gets a little bit tedious: 
> The called 
> template not only returns the data but a tuple containing the 
> data and the 
> baseURI of the data. Now this has to be passed to every other 
> template doing 
> something with this data. This process seems a little bit too 
> difficult 
> (passing information about data which actually belongs to the data 
> implicitly).
> 
> To my mind the current specification of XSL throws away base 
> URI information 
> too early. When processing data, spread over different files, this 
> information is very important in order to keep track of the 
> context where the 
> data is from. Currently this can only be done explicitly via 
> xsl:withparam 
> ... baseURI=...
> 
> > I don't actually follow your reasoning with your third 
> stylesheet and 
> > the use of named templates. If you pass a node as a parameter to a 
> > template (or
> > function) you are passing it by reference, so its base URI 
> is unaffected.
> > It's only when the node is copied that the problem arises.
> 
> That's right. I just wanted to point out that the nodes 
> returned by the called 
> template may contain their original base URI. But by binding 
> it to a variable 
> they definitely loose this base URI.
> 
> Volker Renneberg
> 
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: Volker Renneberg [mailto:volker.renneberg@unibw-muenchen.de]
> > > Sent: 25 March 2003 15:19
> > > To: public-qt-comments@w3.org
> > > Subject: xsl:variable, content-constructor, baseURI
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
> > > Hash: SHA1
> > >
> > > Hi!
> > >
> > > During developing a stylesheet which heavily relies on file 
> > > inclusion
> > > (document()-function) I came across some problems in the XSL
> > > specification.
> > >
> > > Assume not all files are at the same location but spread over 
> > > different directories. During transformation the stylesheet loads 
> > > these documents and
> > > applies its templates to the content (and during this process
> > > again files may
> > > have to be imported and evaluated).
> > >
> > > The problem addressed here is how to find those files. 
> The names of 
> > > the files to be loaded are inside the XML documents (relative
> > > names!!!). May problem
> > > arises when recursively importing documents from different
> > > directories.
> > >
> > > Three examples will follow which actually should result 
> in the same 
> > > behaviour but do not. Let's use three simple files:
> > >
> > > a.xml:
> > > <import file="lib/b.xml"/>
> > >
> > > lib/b.xml:
> > > <import file="c.xml"/>
> > >
> > > lib/c.xml:
> > > Text: nothingblalblabla
> > >
> > >
> > > Stylesheet A processing file a.xml:
> > > <xsl:template match="import">
> > >      <xsl:variable name="x" select="document(@file, .)"/>
> > >      <xsl:apply-templates select="$x">
> > >        ...parameters...
> > >      </xsl:apply-templates>
> > > </xsl:template>
> > >
> > > This example works as expected: During transformation of document 
> > > "a.xml" file "lib/b.xml" has to be imported and from 
> there "c.xml".
> > > "b.xml" only knows the
> > > relative position of "c.xml" relative to its own position.
> > > Thus the base URI
> > > of the lib/b.xml/import-node has to be used. Using stylesheet
> > > A this works
> > > fine.
> > >
> > > (Yes I could move the document() call to the 
> apply-templates node. 
> > > However in my stylesheet case I have to do it that way as 
> the actual 
> > > loading and composition process is a little bit more complicated. 
> > > The files presented
> > > here are just simplified examples showing the problem)
> > >
> > >
> > > The following is a slightly changed version of A. Now 
> variable "x" 
> > > will be constructed by content constructors and not via the select
> > > attribute. Now the
> > > transformation fails because the transformer forgets the base
> > > URI of the
> > > imported document. Thus while transforming "lib/b.xml" the
> > > file "c.xml" will
> > > be searched relative to the stylesheet URI (which may be
> > > somewhere but not
> > > "lib/") and not relative to "lib/b.xml". This is due to 
> XSLT 2.0: 9.1
> > > Variables and 9.4 Temporary Trees. Stylesheet B processing
> > > file "a.xml": <xsl:template match="import">
> > >      <xsl:variable name="x" />
> > >              <xsl:copy-of select="document(@file , .)"/>
> > >      </xsl:variable>
> > >      <xsl:apply-templates select="$x">
> > >              ..parameters...
> > >      </xsl:apply-templates>
> > > <xsl:template>
> > >
> > >
> > > Now one may argue that <xsl:copy-of/> only copies 
> elements and it is 
> > > not supposed to copy the base URI. But as stated above I try do
> > > do all IO in a
> > > callable template. This leads to a the third possible
> > > stylesheet. Stylesheet
> > > C processing file "a.xml":
> > > <xsl:template match="import">
> > >      <xsl:variable name="x" />
> > >              <xsl:call-template name="load-file">
> > >                      <xsl:with-param name="filename" 
> select="@file"/>
> > >              <xsl:call-template name="load-file">
> > >      </xsl:variable>
> > >      <xsl:apply-templates select="$x">
> > >              ...parameters...
> > >      </xsl:apply-templates>
> > > </xsl:template>
> > >
> > > In this example no node will be copied (in template 
> "import") while 
> > > calling the template but still the transformer will 
> forget the base
> > > URI which gets
> > > returned correctly by the called tempalte "load-file". Ok
> > > "load-file" again
> > > works via <xsl:copy-of/> - to my knowledge there is no other way!
> > >
> > >
> > > To my mind there seem to be two problems:
> > >
> > > 1) XSLT 2.0 Spec, 9.1 Variables: Constructing a variable 
> as it has 
> > > been done in the second and third stylesheet results in 
> an temporary
> > > tree which (XSLT
> > > 2.0 Spec, 9.4 Temporary Trees) does not copy the base URI of
> > > the original
> > > elements but changes it to the base URI of the variable
> > > binding element
> > > (which if understand it correctly is the base URI of the 
> stylesheet).
> > >
> > > 2) I cannot check with Saxon because there is no way to 
> generate the 
> > > base-uri from the result of <xsl:copy-of/> without binding the 
> > > result to a variable
> > > (which ignores the base URI). So I just assume that
> > > <xsl:copy-of/> forgets
> > > the base URI, too.
> > >
> > > Thus the current WD of XSLT 2.0 does not support an 
> implicit way of 
> > > propagating the base URI via variables or using 
> > > <xsl:call-template/>. Doing more complicated things in XSL in 
> > > conjunction with the document()-function
> > > leads to forgetting the base URI. Thinking of named templates
> > > as procedure
> > > like mechanisms returning data (maybe read from a file) this
> > > data will NEVER
> > > be correct according to the original one (i. e. missing base
> > > URI). The data
> > > has to be processed in the called template as far as the base
> > > URI-stuff is
> > > concerned.
> > >
> > > Please rethink the design of the XSLT 2.0 Specification 
> in the eras 
> > > touched by <xsl:variables/>/Temporary trees and named 
> templates. To 
> > > my mind <xsl:copy-of/> should copy the base use and 
> temporary trees
> > > should not be
> > > assigned a common, data unrelated base URI. In case the data
> > > bound to a
> > > variable has it's own base URI this should be adopted.
> > >
> > > ciao
> > > Volker
> > >
> > > - --
> > > Dipl.-Inform. Volker Renneberg
> > > University of the Federal Armed Forces, Munich
> > > 85577 Neubiberg, Werner-Heisenberg-Weg 36
> > > Tel.: +49-89-60042253 - Fax.: +49-89-60044447 
> > > http://hypsipyle.informatik.unibw-muenchen.de
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> 
> - -- 
> Dipl.-Inform. Volker Renneberg
> University of the Federal Armed Forces, Munich
> 85577 Neubiberg, Werner-Heisenberg-Weg 36
> Tel.: +49-89-60042253 - Fax.: +49-89-60044447 
> http://hypsipyle.informatik.unibw-muenchen.de
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Received on Friday, 28 March 2003 10:01:42 GMT

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