Critical analysis of conversion methods between different XML dialects

Roellinghoff, Manuel (2002-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The Extensible Markup Language (XML) has become the language of choice for any kind of data transfer between different business entities. Technologies based on XML like the Extensible Stylesheet Language, the Extensible Linking Language and SOAP add vital functionality and make the use of XML in many different business application scenarios possible. Companies that start employing XML as their format of choice for data exchange are often faced with the problem of different XML dialects within their company or with their business partners. This research project looks at the different solutions that are available for this problem and evaluates their appropriateness for certain scenarios. The first viable solution is employing the Extensible Stylesheet Language which allows for basic transformation on the basis of stylesheets. Companies that use this technology for simple conversion problems can either develop applications themselves or rely on tools from third-party vendors. For more advanced conversion needs a more flexible solution is appropriate. Custom made conversion frameworks developed by using a fourth generation programming language like Java offer the advantages of scalability by connecting more than one communication partner, platform-independency and a high degree of flexibility. Another option that will payoff in the future is the adherence to one of the developing industry XML standards. Such standards are mostly still in the development phase and have not been adopted widely yet. But once it becomes clear which standards are going to survive for each industry the adoption of such a standard will eliminate the need for any customised conversion and facilitate data exchange between business partners that adhere to the same standard. In general it is recommended to research existing XML standards before developing a proprietary one. When a proprietary format already exists the choice of the conversion tools and methods depends on the complexity of the transformation. Simple transformation needs can be solved by employing the XSLT technology while more advanced needs require the development of a customised conversion framework.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Extensible Markup Language (XML) het die taal van keuse geword vir enige soort van data oordraging tussen verskillende bedryfsentiteite. Tegnologie gebaseer op XML soos die Extensible Stylesheet Language, die Extensible Linking Language en Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) dra by tot betekenisvolle waardetoevoeging en maak die gebruik van XML in 'n groot verskeidenheid van besigheidstoepassings scenarios moontlik. Ondernemings wat XML as hul formaat van keuse vir data oordraging meer en meer begin gebruik, word dikwels met die probleem van verskillende XML dialekte intern tot hul onderneming sowel as ekstern tot hul sakevennote, gekonfronteer. Hierdie studie ontleed die verskillende oplossings wat beskikbaar is vir die probleem en evalueer dan die toepaslikheid vir sekere scenarios. Die eerste uitvoerbare oplossing is die gebruik van die Extensible Stylesheet Language wat toelaat vir basiese transformasie op die grondslag van stylblaaie. Ondernemings wat hierdie tegnologie vir eenvoudige omsettingsprobleme wil gebruik kan óf self toepassings ontwikkel of staatmaak op gereedskap vanaf derde party verskaffers. Vir meer gevorderde omsettingsbehoeftes is 'n meer buigsame oplossing geskik. Doelgemaakte omskakelingsraamwerke wat ontwikkel word deur gebruik te maak van 'n vierde generasie programmeringstaal soos JAVA bied die voordele van skalering deur meer as een kommunikasievennoot te konnekteer, platform onafhanklikheid en 'n hoë graad van buigsaamheid. Nog 'n opsie wat rendement in die toekoms kan lewer is om te bly by een van die ontwikkelende industrie XML standaarde. Sulke standaarde is meesal nog in die ontwikkelingsfase en word nog nie tot nou algemeen aanvaar nie. As dit egter begin duidelik word watter standaarde gaan oorleef vir elke industrie sal die aanvaarding van sulke standaarde die nodigheid vir doelgemaakte omskakeling elimineer en sal dit data uitruiling tussen sakevennote wat hou by dieselfde standaarde bevorder. In die algemeen word dit aanbeveel dat bestaande XML standaarde goed nagevors word alvorens 'n alleenreg een ontwikkel word. Wanneer 'n alleenregformaat alreeds bestaan sal die keuse van transformasiegereedskap en metodes afhang van die kompleksiteit van die transformasie. Eenvoudige transformeerde behoeftes kan bevredig word deur die XSLT tegnologie te gebruik, terwyl meer gevorderde behoeftes die ontwikkeling van 'n doelgemaakte omskakelingraamwerk sal benodig.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/49721
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