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Managing complex documents over the WWW: a case study for XML

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3 Author(s)
P. Ciancarini ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Bologna Univ., Italy ; F. Vitali ; C. Mascolo

The use of the World Wide Web as a communication medium for knowledge engineers and software designers is limited by the lack of tools for writing, sharing, and verifying documents written with design notations. For instance, the Z language has a rich set of mathematical characters, and requires graphic-rich boxes and schemas for structuring a specification document. It is difficult to integrate Z specifications and text on WWW pages written with HTML, and traditional tools are not suited for the task. On the other hand, a newly proposed standard for markup languages, namely XML, allows one to define any set of markup elements; hence, it is suitable for describing any kind of notation. Unfortunately, the proposed standard for rendering XML documents, namely XSL, provides for text-only (although sophisticated) rendering of XML documents, and thus it cannot be used for more complex notations. We present a Java-based tool for applying any notation to elements of XML documents. These XML documents can thus be shown on current-generation WWW browsers with Java capabilities. A complete package for displaying Z specifications has been implemented and integrated with standard text parts. Being a complete rendering engine, text parts and Z specifications can be freely intermixed, and all the standard features of XML (including HTML links and form elements) are available outside and inside Z specifications. Furthermore, the extensibility of our engine allows any additional notations to be supported and integrated with the ones we describe

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering  (Volume:11 ,  Issue: 4 )