The Extensible XML Information Set

Erik Wilde

Erik Wilde, The Extensible XML Information Set, Computer Engineering and Networks Laboratory, ETH Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland, TIK Report 160, February 2003.

XML and its data model, the XML Information Set, are used for a large number of applications. These applications have widely varying data models, ranging from very simple regular trees to irregularly structured graphs using many different types of nodes and vertices. While some applications are sufficiently supported by the data model provided by the XML Infoset itself, others could benefit from extensions of the data model and assistance for these extensions in supporting XML technologies (such as the DOM API or the XSLT programming language). In this paper, we describe the Extensible XML Information Set (EXIS), which is a reformulation of the XML Infoset targeted at making the Infoset easier to extend and to make these extensions usable in higher-level XML technologies. EXIS provides a framework for defining extensions to the core XML Infoset, and for identifying these extensions (using namespace names). Higher-level XML technologies (such as DOM or XPath) can then support EXIS extensions through additional interfaces, such as a dedicated DOM module, or XPath extension mechanisms (extension axes and/or functions). In order to make EXIS work, additional efforts are required in these areas of higher-level XML technologies, but EXIS itself could be used rather quickly to provide a foundation for well-defined Infoset extensions, such as XML Schema's PSVI contributions, or the reformulation of XLink as being based on a data model (rather than a syntax).


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