Industrial IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, Stackify Blog, Yeshim Deniz, SmartBear Blog, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Industrial IoT

Industrial IoT: Article

Eliminating Redundancy in XML Using ID/IDREF

Eliminating Redundancy in XML Using ID/IDREF

XML can be thought of as the "universal serialization of data." It provides a flexible, open approach for modeling data and sharing messages among business partners (or systems) in a consistent manner. XML provides the ideal solution to messaging in a B2B e-commerce infrastructure since it enables a loosely coupled design that can significantly lower a partner's barrier to entry.

While most users of XML utilize its hierarchical nature to define data, this article discusses possible approaches for eliminating redundant data within XML messages by employing the features of ID and IDREF to define a more relational approach to defining the data.

Reporting Data Is Redundant
Developing a common vocabulary for a single enterprise or a large B2B marketplace can be a daunting task. With XML the challenge of modeling commonly utilized data models in an open manner can be resolved. It's based on a formal W3C Recommendation and has extensive support from both users and IT vendors, thereby providing a stable, future-proof foundation for business applications. The technical and business benefits of utilizing an open, standards-based XML strategy are immense. Whenever possible, an enterprise's existing data models and semantics should be utilized to construct the markup language.

There are, however, several issues that must be addressed prior to effectively representing an organization's data models in XML. Common reporting and aggregate data sets frequently contain repetitive data such as name and address. These redundancies are usually carried over into the resulting markup. This approach leads to repetitive data structures - the result of which is poorly designed markup that doesn't make use of reusable data models. XML's ID and IDREF tokenized attributes enable designers to leverage relational modeling concepts and avoid creating redundant data structures.

ID is a specially defined attribute that uniquely represents an instantiation of an element within an XML message. The value of an ID attribute is similar to a primary key value in a relational database table in that no two ID attributes (for a given element) can have the same value. IDREF is another special XML attribute that references a previously defined ID value. IDREFS is similar to IDREF, but can point to several previously defined ID values, each separated by a space. Listing 1 displays a simple example of how ID, IDREF and IDREFS are typically used in an XML document.

As illustrated in Listing 1, ID, IDREF and IDREFS can be used to establish relationships within the data. They can also be used to represent data structures without utilizing nested elements. This approach enables developers to model data that lacks definite structure (such as a result set from a user-defined query).

Based on these concepts, a set of redundant elements can be effectively modeled using ID and IDREF attributes. A sample document with redundant elements appears in Listing 2. As this listing clearly illustrates, the Key, Firstname and Lastname elements appear in several locations throughout the document.

Listing 3 illustrates how this data can be modeled in a more effective manner using ID, IDREF and IDREFS.

Note that the code in Listing 3 establishes a data structure (Keys) that can be reused elsewhere in the document. This design reflects the relational approach to defining and utilizing translation tables to avoid many-to-many relationships (as seen in Figure 1).

Processing XML Using Xpath and ID/IDREF
Today's XML parsers don't make use of the ID/IDREF functionality as defined in this article. However, the W3C XPath specification ( www.w3.org/TR/1999/REC-xpath-19991116) provides facilities for identifying and selecting nodes based on their IDs. Additionally, IDREFs can automatically be retrieved from identified nodes and supplied directly as input into the ID function.

The XPath specification defines a set of core functions that must be available to all implementations of XPath processors. One of these functions operates over an XML document to provide a node-set result based on the id function. The id function takes a single string parameter identifying the node that defines the unique ID. Using the example in Listing 1, we could use the following XPath statement to retrieve the supervisor for a particular employee:

id("456") returns the SUPERVISOR node for Debbie Hamel

The input to the ID function can also be a white space-separated list of strings that represent multiple IDs and the resulting node set would include all nodes that have IDs matching those defined in the list.

As you can see by the differences in Listings 2 and 3, using XML to define data hierarchically can produce highly redundant elements. By using the method described in this article, it's possible to mix hierarchical and relational techniques within the same document, which results in a more usable and reusable XML document. In addition, this document will contain clearly recognizable elements that can be employed to describe information relative to data both within and external to the XML document.

More Stories By JP Morgenthal

JP Morgenthal is a veteran IT solutions executive and Distinguished Engineer with CSC. He has been delivering IT services to business leaders for the past 30 years and is a recognized thought-leader in applying emerging technology for business growth and innovation. JP's strengths center around transformation and modernization leveraging next generation platforms and technologies. He has held technical executive roles in multiple businesses including: CTO, Chief Architect and Founder/CEO. Areas of expertise for JP include strategy, architecture, application development, infrastructure and operations, cloud computing, DevOps, and integration. JP is a published author with four trade publications with his most recent being “Cloud Computing: Assessing the Risks”. JP holds both a Masters and Bachelors of Science in Computer Science from Hofstra University.

More Stories By John Evdemon

John Evdemon, formerly coeditor-in-chief of XML-Journal, is an Architect with Microsoft's Architecture Strategy Team covering BPM, SOA and Internet Scale Computing. He is an XML and e-business expert, having served as CTO/Director of XML-Related Products for both a large integration platform vendor and a small XML-centric start-up. He has been working with XML since its early beginnings, is an Invited Expert with the W3C XML Core Syntax Working Group and has chaired several industry-specific XML initiatives.

Comments (2) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

Most Recent Comments
Nayan 03/24/08 10:59:51 AM EDT

Incomplete article. Can't find the listings referred in the article.

Sanjit Pandey 11/19/07 03:06:57 PM EST

I cant find the examples (Listing 1, Listing 2...) mentioned in the article.

@ThingsExpo Stories
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
BnkToTheFuture.com is the largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech, Bitcoin and Blockchain companies. We believe the future of finance looks very different from the past and we aim to invest and provide trading opportunities for qualifying investors that want to build a portfolio in the sector in compliance with international financial regulations.
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...