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Subject: Re: [opendocument-users] simple OO.org document goes awry in MS Office2007 w/SP2 - what went wrong?

Alex Brown wrote:
>  The other thing I mentioned (namespace adaptation) is another clear case
> of the validator favouring OpenOffice.org. If the user submits a certain
> type file, produced by OO.o, which is *not* valid against an ODF schema,
> the code will detect the namespace
> "http://openoffice.org/2001/manifest"; and modify the instance so that
> the correct namespace is used instead. The user is informed that their
> submitted file *is* valid, when in fact it is not.
> There are other instances of this in the code. So far as I can see, they
> are all addressed to faults in documents emitted by OO.o
> implementations.
Rather than just saying the ODF validator fakes it, perhaps this shows 
that there is a gap between what people may need and what current 
validators and schemas can achieve.

I don't just mean Schematron is all-singing-all-dancing and the 
grammar-based validators are crap.

But I see two deeper issues here:

* First, is that the issues of validation and repair are intimately 
linked.  Many grammar-based validators will continue on bravely in the 
face of an error, to give the user more indication of what also might be 
wrong. In this particular case, a DSRL schema could formalize the 
namespace mapping. And a Schematron schema could provide a specific 
message to the user, such as "An obsolete namespace is being used." (The 
updates to ISO Schematron in preparation now include more ability to add 
properties to validation results, to drive automated  repair better.)

* Second, is that our schema languages do not have any mechanisms to 
support obsolescence. (Well, Schematron has phases and parameters.)  So 
when they are faced with lifecycle problems, of course they cannot cope. 
Recently I proposed that there should be a namespace history schema 
language, which would allow fallback and fallforward in the presence of 
unknown namespaces, like a looser ISO DSRL.

This was an issue I brought up at the OOXML BRM, and it is common to all 
the XML-in-ZIP formats and indeed any maintained format, especially ones 
coming in to the standards fold after an independent history.  I think 
that the XML-in-ZIP packaging mechanisms should have built-in support 
for ISO DSRL, which is a simple language for specifying various kinds of 
string remapping (namespaces, names, values), as part of loading the XML 
pars of a ZIP file. 

This provides the formalism and technology which a standards commitee 
can say "When you find this obsolete namespace, map it first to the 
standard one on import, using this DSRL schema."  Of course, Alex is 
right that silently fixing namespaces compromises validity, but I think 
this is an example of a class of needs that should be met as part of the 
XML-in-ZIP packaging regime. (Certainly, until then a validator should 
at least report that fixes are being applied.)

Rick Jelliffe

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