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Subject: custom-defined schemas

According to "European Commission's IDA TAC Publishes
Recommendations on Open Document Formats", June 17, 2004
the IDA Expert Group and IDA TAC recommended that:
"The OASIS Technical Committee considers whether there is a need
and opportunity for extending the emerging OASIS
Open Document Format to allow for custom-defined schemas."

At least in theory, it shouldn't be hard to allow for
data in arbitrary XML schemas; simply define some element
to contain such data.  E.G., "<xmldata> ... </xmldata>".
There would also need to be a way to define their
schemas, by including one of the several ways to define
schemas (e.g., DTDs, XML Schema, Relax-NT).

Of course, there's no point in doing this unless
applications can actually USE this.  So, here are some ideas:
* Word Processor - Each nesting turns into a style.
   You should be able to edit the material, and on save
   restore it back to the XML format (using styles to determine
   what to restore it back to).
* Database/Spreadsheet -  Walk down through the nesting,
   identify the likely fields, then display and let user select.
   But that should only need to be done once - after that,
   the schema itself (or some auxillary data) should record
   what the "correct" fields are.

Another idea -- that's not in conflict with those above --
is to embed an XSLT processor.  The XSLT processor would
specify how to get the data in and out of the other format.

The idea of being able to edit arbitrary XML formats as
a word processor with embedded styles has its appeals,
since that'd allow easy editing of other formats
(e.g., DocBook).  It's not clear if the other issues
are really worth it or not; I'm just trying to provide
what I hope are helpful ideas and suggestions.

I wish you well..!

--- David A. Wheeler

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