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XML manipulation by non-expert users

Abstract : Computers and the Internet are everywhere nowadays, in every home, domain and field. Communications between users, applications and heterogeneous information systems are mainly done via XML structured data. XML, based on simple textual data and not requiring any specific platform or environment, has invaded and governed the communication Medias. In the 21stcentury, these communications are now inter-domain and have stepped outside the scope of computer science into other areas (i.e., medical, commerce, social, etc.). As a consequence, and due to the increasing amount of XML data floating between non-expert users (programmers, scientists, etc.), whether on instant messaging, social networks, data storage and others, it is becoming crucial and imperative to allow non-experts to be able to manipulate and control their data (e.g.,parents who want to apply parental control over instant messaging tools in their house, a journalist who wants to gather information from different RSS feeds and filter them out, etc.). The main objective of this work is the study of XML manipulations by non-expert users. Four main related categories have been identified in the literature: XML-oriented visual languages, Mashups, XML manipulation by security and adaptation techniques, and Dataflow visual programming languages. However, none of them provides a full-fledged solution for appropriate XML data manipulation. In our research, we formally defined an XML manipulation framework, entitled XA2C (XML Alteration/Adaptation Composition Framework). XA2C represents a visual studio for an XML-oriented DFVPL (Dataflow Visual Programming Language), called XCDL (XML-oriented Composition Definition Language) which constitutes the major contribution of this study. XCDL is based on Colored Petri Nets allowing non-expert users to compose manipulation operations. The XML manipulations range from simple data selection/projection to data modification (insertion, removal, obfuscation, etc.). The language is oriented to deal with XML data (XML documents and fragments), providing users with means to compose XML oriented operations. Complementary to the language syntax and semantics, XA2C formally defines also the compiler and runtime environment of XCDL. In addition to the theoretical contribution, we developed a prototype, called X-Man, and formally defined an evaluation framework for XML-oriented visual languages and tools that was used in a set of case studies and experiments to evaluate the quality of use of our language and compare it to existing approaches. The obtained assessments and results were positive and show that our approach outperforms existing ones. Several future tracks are being studied such as integration of more complex operations (control operators, loops, etc.), automated compositions, and language derivation to define specific languages oriented towards different XML-based standards (e.g., RSS, RDF, SMIL, etc.)
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - 9:57:37 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 20, 2019 - 3:22:36 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, August 17, 2012 - 2:21:42 AM


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  • HAL Id : tel-00697756, version 1



Gilbert Tekli. XML manipulation by non-expert users. Other [cs.OH]. Université Jean Monnet - Saint-Etienne, 2011. English. ⟨NNT : 2011STET4013⟩. ⟨tel-00697756⟩



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