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XML-L  February 2001

XML-L February 2001

Subject:

Re: Question about multiple XML documents

From:

Adam Kaupisch <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

General discussion of Extensible Markup Language <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 14 Feb 2001 14:06:11 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (130 lines)

Thanka a ton for the info. I did have one other quick question though. What
if I have 2 files which just contain properties.

example:
file 1:
<?XML version="1.0"?>
<data x="0"></data>
<data y="0"></data>

file 2:
<?XML version="1.0"?>
<data a="1"></data>
<data b="2"></data>
<foo bar="asdf"></foo>

but, I want to include file 1 into file 2. That is, when viewed, I would
simply see output from file 2 as:

<?zml version="1.0"?>
<data x="0"/>
<data y="0"/>
<data a="1"/>
<data b="2"/>
<foo bar="asdf"/>

note that I don't want to have a wrapper around it like the "roottag" below,
I simply want it to list. That way if I were to go into file 1 and change
x=0 to x=1 it would propogate to file 2 when file 2 was displayed. In this
case I am simply working with property files and want to pull the properties
from some root file into another file(s) so I can keep all common data in 1
file but when viewing the sub files (file 2, etc) it looks seemless and as
if file 1 didn't exist (i.e. when viewed no one would know the wiser that a
file 1 existed unless they were editing it)

does this make sense? I'm still new to xml so my ability to express what I
am thinking might be sweked ;)

again, thanks for the response

-----Original Message-----
From: John E. Simpson [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Wednesday, February 14, 2001 11:14 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Question about multiple XML documents


At 10:08 AM 02/14/2001 -0700, Adam Kaupisch wrote:
>I have a site set up which has multiple directories of XML files. Some of
>the XML files contain the same information throught the different
>directories. I was wondering if there is a way to strip out that common XML
>and throw it into a root XML file. Then, through some command or tag in
XML,
>have the files which need to inherit from the root, do so. Is there an easy
>way of doing this?

Well, depends on what you mean by "easy." :)

Basically, what you're describing is a kind of simple, XMLized relational
database. You have a "lookup table" of sorts where all the common data
resides, and then you have a bunch of separate tables which need to include
or refer to that common data. Is that right?

>as a simple example
>
>// root.xml file
><sometag> Hello World my name is </sometag>
>
>// sub file 1
><anothertag> Adam </anothertag>
>
>//subfile 2
><anothertag> Bob </anothertag>
>
>then have the subfiles reference the root so, when you execute one file you
>would essentially get
>Hello World my name is Adam
>or
>Hello World my name is Bob

First, I'm not sure what you mean by "executing" a file, since there's
nothing inherently executable about XML documents. Do you want to see one
of your Hello World messages in a browser, for example, when you open up
one of the "subfiles"?

Anyway, I can think of two possible solutions, one "pure XML" (sort of :)
and one involving XSLT.

The "pure XML" approach includes the root file in the subfiles by way of an
external parsed entity. For this, you need a DTD. A subfile might look
something like the following enhanced version of the ones you describe:

    <!DOCTYPE roottag [
    <!ENTITY rootfile SYSTEM "root.xml">
    <!ELEMENT roottag (sometag, anothertag) >
    <!ELEMENT sometag (#PCDATA) >
    <!ELEMENT anothertag (#PCDATA) >
    ]>
    <roottag>
       &rootfile;
       <anothertag> Adam </anothertag>
    </roottag>

The entity reference &rootfile; causes the external entity associated with
it ("root.xml") to be logically included in the subfile. If you change the
root.xml document, no need to change the including documents; its contents
will automatically be fresh the next time one of them is opened, read, or
whatever. Note that this solution, while fairly simple and straightforward
(and while it will work with your simple sample data), doesn't provide any
kind of "interleaving" of data from the multiple sources: there's one big
block containing the root.xml data, and one big block containing the
subfile's data.

The XSLT solution is (probably predictably) somewhat more complex, but also
more powerful, flexible, and what-have-you. For that solution, your XSLT
stylesheet would need to open two source documents (one as the regular XSLT
source tree, one with the XSLT document() function) -- the root.xml and one
of the subfiles -- and "merge" them into a single result. Depending on your
XSLT processor and environment, you could probably do this dynamically
(e.g. on a Web server).

Hope that helps. I know the XSLT solution skips a lot of details, but
chances are that if you're just getting started with XML you probably
aren't quite ready for XSLT yet. In any case, the short answer is "yes, it
can be done."


================================================================
John E. Simpson          | "Is it weird in here, or is it just
http://www.flixml.org    | me?" -- Steven Wright
XML Q&A: www.xml.com     |

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