Bug #586


resolve validation problem with missing keys

Added by Matt Jones over 20 years ago. Updated over 20 years ago.

eml - general bugs
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The new xerces reports a validation error for the "eml" module using ant test.
This seems to be because keys are defined that are not used. Nedd to determine
if this is truly invalid or a xerces bug. If its invalid, we'll need to change
our key system becuase it won't work with optional key fields.

Actions #1

Updated by Peter McCartney over 20 years ago

I think this is also the reason why we're having problems with Stylus Studio
which is based on xerces. It reports a flood of errors related to key

Actions #2

Updated by Matt Jones over 20 years ago

OK, here's the deal as far as I can tell with the key validity problems. These
surfaced when we upgraded Xerces, which became more sensitive to these schema
validity problems. When you define a key, you define a set of nodes to be
checked using the "selector" xpath expression. This produces a node set, and
for each field in that node set, it checks that the "field" selector contains a
unique value AND is not nil.

This means two things for us:
1) id attributes can not be optional, because we have to have a value to pass
the validation test
2) our selectors can't look at every node (as they currently do by using
something like ".//*"), because such a broad selector will return nodes that
don't allow the id attribute, and thus would not have a value for the key

The only solution that I can see right now is:
1) change all id attributes from optional to required
2) change our xpath selectors to only select eml fields that contain an id attribute

This is a pretty major change, but as it stands now the key/keyref stuff
prevents us from ever creating a valid document. Comments appreciated.

Actions #3

Updated by Chad Berkley over 20 years ago

I think the solution you propose sounds simple enough. I don't see required id
fields as being a big issue, although I know it has been an issue with others
before. The xpath selection seems trivial. We definitely need this stuff to
validate correctly with existing tools or we may have a mess on our hands.

Actions #4

Updated by Peter McCartney over 20 years ago

needless to say, im one of the ones that is not wild about id's being
required. when we agreed on the identifier/reference thing, it was with the
understanding that one could produce an eml with duplicated content or choose
to use identifiers.

I think eml should be about content, not schemas. to me, all this keyref stuff
is about enforcing one opinion on the mangement of similar information within
one document - it has nothing to do with content standards. If we're facing a
problem caused by key refs that is going to force everyone to have to create
documents following this narrower opinion, I would sooner leave them optional
and let external software do the enforcing. In order to used them effectively,
youre dependent on software to manage them anyways.

Actions #5

Updated by Tim Bergsma over 20 years ago

Now I'm scared. I've been largely ignoring the identifier discussion, probably
because I thought they wouldn't affect me. When triples were dropped, I
suddenly felt that I might be able to generate eml independently, without expert
intervention. Peter's comments about identifiers are unsettling. I'm sure
we'll get it figured out, but at what cost, on a site basis? I'll be paying
more attention now.

Actions #6

Updated by Chad Berkley over 20 years ago

Alas, all is not lost! Matt and I spent a bunch of time yesterday tracking down
exactly what was going wrong with the keys. We feel pretty strongly that this
is a bug in xerces and that we are doing it correctly. Matt entered a bug in
the xerces bugzilla:
If you look at it, you can see what we figured out as well as some sample
documents that illustrate our points.

Actions #7

Updated by Matt Jones over 20 years ago

Actually, the crux of the issue still remains in that xerces seems to be
properly throwing an error if elements that particpate in a key are missing an
id. The seem to be saying that all keys have the "NOT NULL" property. Bummer.
It means there is nothing like the "ID" type from XML 1.0 in XML Schema. And
this is why id would need to be required. I'm not at all satisfied with the
"leave it optional and let people submit invalid docs", because that will never
work. So...I think we need to continue this duscussion post RC1. In the
meantime, I've commented out the key and keyref elements from eml.xsd so that
everything validates. I'll update the README to indicate this is an
outstanding problem.

The xerces folks are working on the othe rhalf of the problem, but its less
critical as there would be a work-around.

Actions #8

Updated by Matt Jones over 20 years ago

OK, so here's the deal. We've agreed ID should not be required. So that rules
out using XML Schema keys to force uniqueness of the ids, because they do not
allow nulls (if you select an element for a uniqieness check, its an error if it
doesn't have the id at all). So...Chad wrote an EMLParser in Java that does the
checks they way we want them done. It basically takes the key/keyref defs and
validates that they follow the rules laid out in the eml spec. This code is
shipping with the EML release, and has been exposed as a servlet on the web for
people to use for validating their eml instances.

Hopefully Xerces will fix their bug, but the more serious problem would still
remain, so our custom parser seems like the best solution for now. Will need to
flag this in the distribution.


Actions #9

Updated by Redmine Admin almost 10 years ago

Original Bugzilla ID was 586


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