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Subject: [ubl-ndrsc] Comments on Elements vs. Attributes Paper - impact onebXML GUIDs

I don't remember whether or not this issue has been decided, but have a
few thoughts on it anyway.

I have scanned through Gunther's paper and think overall it is a pretty
good approach.  The X12 XML DR effort is wrestling with the same
problem, and has come to a different recommendation (so far anyway) -
use elements for application data and attributes only for metadata that
won't be passed on to a business application.  One reason we decided
this was due to the fact that we lacked a clear, deterministic rule for
when something should be an element vs. an attribute.  Gunther's paper
presents just such a rule.

However, the mixed use of elements and attributes for business data
raises another issue about which I would be interested in hearing some
discussion.  The ebXML globally unique identifier approach assigns a
unique GUID to each piece of business data (currently ebXML core
components, but we would hope that business information entities would
also have them in the future).  I see this as no problem for elements.
If I understand correctly we could use the built-in ID attribute, or
even use a schema defined attribute like "ebXMLGUID" with a default
value.  I don't see it as being so easy for attributes, though.  Schemas
let you use the built-in ID attribute when declaring an attribute, but I
wonder how many parsers would be able to access this information at
run-time, for example, for doing XSLT transformations based on ebXML
GUIDs.  Does anyone know if current parsers support retrieving an
attribute's schema-defined ID value?  Is there any compliance statement
in the Schema recommendation regarding this?  If retrieving the ID value
of an attribute is not supported, I see an argument for only using
elements for business data if we really want to support ebXML GUIDs, now
or in the future.

Michael C. Rawlins, Rawlins EC Consulting

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