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Re: Major problem with schema needs immediate attention.

From: Erik Bruchez <ebruchez@orbeon.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2007 13:23:28 -0700
Message-ID: <47191240.8060800@orbeon.com>
To: "Forms WG (new)" <public-forms@w3.org>


I think (John please correct me if I am wrong) that John and I both
recognize that XForms is in charge of deciding how to apply the

The issue is that the current spec doesn't say how to apply the
schema, and I think that we must say how, otherwise different
implementations will validate differently, right?

Picking a default (i.e. strict, or John's "one-level-lax") resolves
the problem in a way, but not in a very satisfactory way IMO, because
there are use cases for "strict", use cases for "lax", and use cases
for "just skip" - three concepts already present in the Schema 1.0

This is why I find the XSLT 2.0 solution compelling: it does say, and
in very much details, "how" to validate, and it allows the stylesheet
author to better control how schema definitions are applied.


Klotz, Leigh wrote:
 > I don't see the need for any changes.  The XML schema processor doesn't
 > say what interfaces must be provided by the XML schema validation 
 > This issue is assuming that the policy is strict validation and that the
 > presence of even a single type library with no element declarations
 > would invalidate all instances.
 > That's simply not the case; the application itself (in this case,
 > XForms) is in charge of deciding how to apply XML Schema validation.
 > Granted, if you use Xerces in Java and just say "go" it will try to
 > validate everything, but others, (I believe Saxon-SA) won't, and offer
 > more advanced interfaces.
 > But any issues I see here are about using OTS open source software with
 > insufficienct interfaces to implement what's clearly allowed by the XML
 > Schema standard.
 > Take a look at what Noah has to say on this issue:
 >  From http://www.schemavalid.com/faq/xml-schema.html#d4
 >     Can schemas validate parts of an instance document?
 > Yes, for example XSV <http://www.w3.org/2000/09/webdata/xsv>, for
 > example, will use "strict" mode if every element from the root down is
 > schema-validatable, but "lax" mode if the root node - or any other
 > element which is allowed to appear in some context - cannot itself be
 > schema-validated.
 > [Noah Mendelsohn] From xmlschema-1
 > <http://www.w3.org/TR/xmlschema-1/#validation_outcome>: "With a schema
 > which satisfies the conditions expressed in Errors in Schema
 > Construction and Structure (7.1) above, the schema-validity of an
 > element information item can be assessed.". It then goes on to say
 > exactly how and against which declarations. Note that it says you can
 > validate an "element", not necessarily the root element of a document.
 > Net answer to your question: conforming processors can be written to
 > validate any element you like. Not all processors need provide this
 > service: buy or use processors that validate the information you need
 > validated. By the way, the detailed rules give the processor a choice of
 > validating the element against some particular identified element
 > declaration, some particular identified complex type, or to use the
 > mechanisms of strict, lax etc. to determine what to validate based on
 > what declarations happen to be available. All of this is explained at
 > xmlschema-1 <http://www.w3.org/TR/xmlschema-1/#validation_outcome>.
 > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
 > *From:* public-forms-request@w3.org [mailto:public-forms-request@w3.org]
 > *On Behalf Of *John Boyer
 > *Sent:* Thursday, October 18, 2007 5:51 PM
 > *To:* ebruchez@orbeon.com
 > *Cc:* Forms WG (new); public-forms-request@w3.org
 > *Subject:* Re: Major problem with schema needs immediate attention.
 > Hi Erik,
 > Regarding validate vs. schema attribute on instance, are you saying that
 > if you have
 > A.xsd: schema targetnamespace="A"
 > B.xsd: schema targetnamespace="B"
 > <instance validation="lax">  <e xmlns="A"/>
 > Then both schema A and B will still apply to the instance but both will
 > be applied with lax validation?
 > This compared to
 > <instance schema="A.xsd"> <e xmlns="A"/>
 > To me, the latter is more compelling.  It directly says what schema are
 > applicable, not how to apply the schema.  It does get even more
 > compelling the more instances (and hence schema) become involved.
 > Frankly, I do actually think there is a also a use for the validation
 > attribute you advocate, which is interesting because it is another
 > datapoint to suggest that the two are separate things.  Still a third
 > point would be that XSLTs validation attribute is designed much more
 > like our type MIP.  It is actually applicable anywhere in the result
 > tree, so putting it on instance may be the *wrong* choice.  I could
 > easily see schema on instance and validation as a MIP.
 > Anyway, regarding 'not invented here' syndrome, I'd have to say the
 > Forms team has done a pretty good job of demonstrating that we don't
 > have the problem.  Proof points would be XPath and XML Schema.  Even
 > though both create a few rough edges for us, they solved many many more
 > problems than they created.  I think the same will be true of things
 > like XSLT2's validation attribute (only that's a much smaller scale).
 >  If we find we need it, it'll get pulled in, but if I had to guess then,
 > as I said above, it would probably be as a MIP.
 > That still leaves us with selecting schemas to apply.  To that end, I
 > would say that we should not be so worried about 'not invented here'
 > syndrome that we refuse to adopt new ideas *because* another group
 > didn't think of it first, even when faced with a problem in the same
 > domain.
 > John M. Boyer, Ph.D.
 > STSM: Lotus Forms Architect and Researcher
 > Chair, W3C Forms Working Group
 > Workplace, Portal and Collaboration Software
 > IBM Victoria Software Lab
 > E-Mail: boyerj@ca.ibm.com
 > Blog: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/JohnBoyer
 > *Erik Bruchez <ebruchez@orbeon.com>*
 > Sent by: public-forms-request@w3.org
 > 10/18/2007 04:08 PM
 > Please respond to
 > ebruchez@orbeon.com
 > To
 > 	"Forms WG (new)" <public-forms@w3.org>
 > cc
 > Subject
 > 	Re: Major problem with schema needs immediate attention.
 > John & all,
 > Sorry for the over-long reply below.
 >  > Michael Sperberg-McQueen gave a talk at XML 2005 in which he did
 >  > indeed describe the appropriateness of deciding to use different
 >  > schema on the same data for different purposes. It is absolutely
 >  > under the control of the application to decide whether and which
 >  > schema to apply to *any* XML, and it has nothing at all to do with
 >  > having a "pseudo-lax" schema method.  What I believe we are talking
 >  > about is how the application called XForms should decide whether and
 >  > which schema to apply to pieces of XML that it manages.  Once the
 >  > schema are selected, the validation is strict.
 > Agreed, XForms has 100% control over how it decides to apply schema
 > validation.
 > However, a design principle I believe is good consists in leveraging
 > or reuse as much as possible from existing (good) work. This has many
 > benefits, including less time spent devising new solutions to existing
 > problems (the XForms WG really doesn't have the bandwidth to lose time
 > on such things), and consistency across specifications, in this case
 > between XSLT 2.0 and XForms.
 > This is the exact same reason I am very much against us defining new
 > XPath functions to solve problems that already have been solved by
 > XPath 2.0. I really don't want to duplicate the work or, even worse,
 > propose solutions that are not better than existing ones but that are
 > simply different.
 > So yes, we can devise our own way of applying schemas to instance
 > data, but if XSLT 2.0 has done something that can work for us, then I
 > think that we should do a maximum to adopt that. And I believe at the
 > moment that XSLT 2.0 does solve our issues so I am pushing things in
 > that directly.
 > The bottom line: I would like to make sure we are not having a case of
 > "not invented here" syndrome.
 >  > For my own part, I presented the method we currently use to work
 >  > around the problem using a "common sense works pretty well but not
 >  > perfectly" approach that does not happen to require extension
 >  > attributes unsupported by the XForms schema.
 > The reason I used "pseudo-lax" was BTW not to be derogatory, but
 > because the "lax" validation algorithm does what you propose, except
 > it recurses down the XML document to test all the elements and
 > attributes. So your solution is a sort of "one-level lax" validation
 > mode, if you prefer ;-)
 >  > You've proposed that perhaps we should use attributes like those in
 >  > XSLT 2.0.  Based on what I've seen in your last call comment and in
 >  > a brief look at Section 19 of XSLT2, it doesn't look appropriate for
 >  > XForms 1.1.  It seems like the XSLT2 attributes solve a different
 >  > problem.
 > I don't think so, and that's what I have been trying to argue!
 >  > 1) One problem is that XML Schema 1.0 does not mandate that
 >  > implementations provide an execution mode other than strict, and I
 >  > know at least one mainstream schema engine that could support the
 >  > XSLT 2.0 attributes as applied to XForms, which may not even have
 >  > the same semantic as XSLT2 in any case.
 > Are you saying that it would be an issue to have to require tighter
 > integration with the schema validator, like XSLT mandates?
 > If so I can relate to that. For example, at our last f2f, I expressed
 > surprise at the (very late) realization that we cannot simply use a
 > stock XPath validator to implement the depency system!
 > However, my experience is that you can implement lax validation fairly
 > easily with some existing validators, in our case MSV. Lax validation,
 > if not directly supported by your validator, requires that you to
 > obtain from the validator a list of top-level types, and then the
 > capability of validating a sub-tree according to a type when you find
 > a matching element or attribute.
 >  > 2) The validate attribute seems to hit the wrong problem, the
 >  > modality of the schema engine as opposed to the applicability of
 >  > schema to the instance data.  I have long felt that XForms 1.0 has
 >  > the design flaw that the schema attribute is attached to the model
 >  > and not to the instance element.
 >  > I think this may be left over from the good old days when a model
 >  > only had one instance.  If we did go with a solution for XForms 1.1
 >  > that added markup, I would rather see this:
 >  >
 >  > <instance id="X" schema="X.xsd Y.xsd #inline-schema"> ...
 >  > If you don't include a schema attribute on an instance, then I 
think no
 >  > schema should applicable to it.
 >  > The schema attribute on instance would make the selection of 
schema for
 >  > the instance direct and explicit, and it makes processing most 
 > I agree partly with this.
 > However it is intersting to note that XSLT 2.0 actually does things
 > very much the XForms way by allowing you to import a number of schemas
 > into a stylesheet! Then XSLT defines with attributes how those schemas
 > apply to a resulting XML documents. We have a very similar situation
 > in XForms, except our resulting documents are instances. Really, the
 > parallel is striking to me!
 > Given what XSLT 2.0 has done, I now think that importing schemas at
 > the top-level in an XForms model is perfectly acceptable, as long as
 > we add to instances attributes similar to what was done in XSLT.
 > Also note that XSLT allows you to also specify a @type attribute, if
 > you really want to mandate a particular type for a document. This
 > would do the job of selecting which exact schema definition, from the
 > list of imported schemas, must apply to the root element of the
 > instance.
 > In addition, just adding a schema or list of schemas on an instance
 > does seem less powerful than what XSLT 2.0 allows you do to.
 >  > 3) I also didn't like the validation attribute because I didn't feel
 >  > adding it to XForms is not really "futureproof".  We have long felt
 >  > that we need to make the schema engine a pluggable component of
 >  > XForms.  The validation attribute and its values are very XML Schema
 >  > centric, i.e.  they configure the processing model of the XML schema
 >  > engine, so the attribute would be useful and possibly even confusing
 >  > when another schema engine is being used.  By comparison, a schema
 >  > attribute on instance is just a schema selector to indicate which
 >  > schema are applicable to the instance, so it is schema engine
 >  > neutral.
 > This is a good point.
 > I agree we need to make sure we can be as schema-neutral as possible,
 > and at least not close doors. This may be unfortunately, as Leigh
 > suggested during the last call, something we must work on after 1.1
 > though.
 > We now have schemas imported on the xforms:model element. We can't
 > really get rid of this feature easily I think. And we have xsi:type
 > processing taking place.
 > Still, I can see how such attributes could have a defined meaning only
 > with certain schema languages. But even with Relax NG, a @type
 > attribute can have meaning.
 >  > In conclusion, if we could settle on a method a little more like
 >  > what I first proposed, it might help us to provide guidance for
 >  > XForms 1.0 processors today, not just XForms 1.1.
 > I get this point. I don't dislike your solution, and it is simple, but
 > I really dislike the fact that it doesn't seem to match something done
 > in other specs, specifically XSLT 2.0. It is also not just a subset of
 > what XSLT 2.0 does, i.e. if you then decide that lax validation is
 > what you want by default (as we do now in Orbeon Forms), then the
 > outcome may be different from just checking the root element.
 >  > But if a new attribute is required, it seems to be schema and not
 >  > validate that is needed.
 > Given my blah-blah above, at the moment I don't agree with this last
 > statement.
 > -Erik
 > --
 > Orbeon Forms - Web Forms for the Enterprise Done the Right Way
 > http://www.orbeon.com/

Orbeon Forms - Web Forms for the Enterprise Done the Right Way
Received on Friday, 19 October 2007 20:23:44 UTC

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