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Books & Articles I wrote.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Inheritance in Xml Schema and OWL

I've been using Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect for a few years now and recently I have been using it to model and generate Xml Schema using UML. All was going nice until some requirements determined that I needed to support multiple inheritance.

The problem is that Xml Schema does not support nonmonotonic inheritace - that is, it only supports single inheritance. There are some work arounds, but i prefer to call these hacks and hacks always come back to bite you.

I haven't had any real issues with the single inheritance models in C# and Java, mainly as they at least support it indirectly via interfaces. However, it remains to be seen whether the current requirements for multiple inheritance cause any issues when i look at procedural definitions of the types i am creating.

However, in ruling out using Xml Schema I am getting back into the world of OWL and RDF, something i did quite a bit of work on some time ago. Gladly Stanford's Protoge editor has evolved and now has native OWL support and is pretty neat (unfortunetly i can't get their latest alpha 4.0 release to run, but that may be my lack of Java configuration knowledge - there are no instructions you see).

OWL does support the concept of multiple inheritance and much more. In fact i suppose in a way i am happy i have been driven back to it as tool support is now getting there. I'll be trying a few examples out over the weekend and it should be very interesting to start using some of the latest reasoners and see how they have evolved too.

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