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Re: [json] Need for "abstract data model" to support JSON, web services ("useful parts of w3c schema", not validation)

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  • Tatu Saloranta
    On Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 10:36 AM, John David Duncan ... I don t think it is directly applicable in PB, schema has much more fundamental role, being mandatory
    Message 1 of 8 , Apr 27, 2009
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      On Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 10:36 AM, John David Duncan
      <john.david.duncan@...> wrote:
      > Tatu,
      >
      > I don't really understand XML schema or WSDL (which I think you're
      > referring to), so I could be quite off target here ...
      >
      > but maybe Google Protocol Buffers fit the problem?
      >
      > http://code.google.com/apis/protocolbuffers/docs/proto.html

      I don't think it is directly applicable in PB, schema has much more
      fundamental role, being mandatory for operating anything, and to
      generate code (unless I'm mistaken). So in a way it is a strict
      schema-first format. I am hoping for something that allows both
      schema- and code-first approaches, somewhat similar to XML Schema in
      that respect.

      But maybe some aspects of PB might be useful: syntax, other ideas
      regarding versioning?

      -+ Tatu +-
    • John Cowan
      ... All these predicates are on the JSON object itself, because they are used before the object s type is known. So isNull( foo ) means that there is a key
      Message 2 of 8 , Apr 27, 2009
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        Tatu Saloranta scripsit:

        > > isNull(keyName)
        >
        > Would this mean it has to be null, or that it is nullable (allowsNull)?

        All these predicates are on the JSON object itself, because they are used
        before the object's type is known. So isNull("foo") means that there
        is a key "foo" in the JSON object value is null, and likewise with all
        the other primitives.

        > > isUndefined(keyName)
        >
        > does this mean "any type"? Sort of fallback, xml "any" type.

        No, it means that the specified key does not exist. I use the name
        "undefined" for cultural compatibility with JavaScript. There would be
        little point in an isAnyType predicate, because it would match anything
        *except* a missing key.

        > > isNumeric(keyName)
        >
        > perhaps also isInteger/integral?

        That's reasonable. In that case it would be useful to be able to map
        keys to integer as well, and perhaps standardized subtypes of integer too.

        > - [U]nion types that are not mappable to OO ("value can be
        > either an array or boolean"): this just means there are legal JSON
        > constructs for which no strict can be defined.

        Multiple inheritance is a subset of this (doesn't handle primitives).
        If type foobar is a subtype of types foo and bar, then effectively it
        is a union of them.

        One question: should the predicates and the maps do on-the-fly conversion?
        For example, if we specify a predicate of hasNumericValue("foo", 0),
        does "foo": "0" match, or do we require "foo": 0? Likewise, when
        mapping, if the map specifies bar->String and the object contains
        "bar": 123, does the bar field get "123", or is that an error?
        These questions are independent. I'd favor doing the conversions.

        --
        You let them out again, Old Man Willow! John Cowan
        What you be a-thinking of? You should not be waking! cowan@...
        Eat earth! Dig deep! Drink water! Go to sleep!
        Bombadil is talking. http://ccil.org/~cowan
      • Kris Zyp
        ... JSON Schema can certainly be used for that purpose, I am using JSON Schema for typing in Dojo and Persevere, and not just for validating existing JSON
        Message 3 of 8 , Apr 27, 2009
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          Tatu Saloranta wrote:
          >
          >
          > One thing that is currently missing (AFAIK) from JSON stack is the
          > equivalent of useful parts of W3C Schema ("xml schema").
          > I know there is a JSON Schema effort underway already, but if I
          > understand things correctly, its focus on validation aspects, and not
          > data typing or modeling .
          > Although w3c Schema can be used for that (as can DTDs and RelaxNG,
          > latter of which does this better), to me the main value of Schema is
          > as abstract data typing/model.

          JSON Schema can certainly be used for that purpose, I am using JSON
          Schema for typing in Dojo and Persevere, and not just for validating
          existing JSON structures.

          > What I mean by this is that the only real advantage of, say, SOAP over
          > similar simpler JSON+Rest approach is that of having language-agnostic
          > data model that can be used for full object binding and serialization;

          I am not sure if this exactly what you are talking, but we have been
          discussing using JSON Schema as a way to define hyperlink properties in
          JSON structures to provide interoperability in RESTful JSON:
          -------------------------------------

          > including code generation if need be. You can (painfully) define such
          > model, and then generate or bind conforming data to objects.
          > This helps in interoperability as you can describe data content in
          > language+platform independent way, but with ability to get specific
          > bindings reliably.
          > With JSON you can already do data mapping/binding quite well, except
          > for one area of problems: that of handling polymorphism (inheritance).
          > Although that can be worked around on language-by-language basis
          > (adding "class" element in Maps), there is no generic way to do it.

          The "extends" attribute of JSON Schema is designed specifically to meet
          the needs of describing data structures with inheritance. Is this
          insufficient for your polymorphic description needs?

          > Another thing that I feel most existing Schema languages get wrong is
          > the false goal of having to be expressed in format being described
          > (XML schema written in xml). Instead, notation absolutely should be a
          > DSL: right tool for the job. This is especially crucial for JSON
          > because of its simplicity: trying to shoehorn a definition language in
          > JSON seems unnecessarily cumbersome.
          > It is ok to have a one-to-one mapping between optimal DSL and JSON (or
          > xml) if need be -- RelaxNG shows a good way of doing that with its
          > compact (non-xml) notation, and equivalent XML serialization.
          >
          > So I would be interested in finding a solution for this problem -- it
          > seems like the last missing selling point for JSON-WS, to be used for
          > the use case of external entities communication over such an interface
          > (less needed for internal integration where more concrete interfaces,
          > client libs etc, can be used).

          "JSON-WS" hints more at RPC type communication, which is what SMD is
          designed for (which uses JSON Schema):


          > One more thing: defining such a notation might not be extremely
          > difficult -- since validation is NOT the main focus, range & size
          > limitations could be omitted, or kept very simple; more important is
          > JSON-primitive/object-inheritance data-typing and structural
          > definitions.
          > Validation aspects can be handled separately; or as an add-on.

          JSON Schema can as simple as the subset you want to use. {} is a valid
          schema (although not particularly useful). We have discussed formally
          defining a subset of JSON Schema for more traditional data-typing style
          constraints, but when after some discussion of how easy it is to ignore
          non-relevant parts of the spec, it seemed like kind of a silly exercise.
          Of course, if you want to define a non JSON-based data type modeling
          system, that is indeed a completely different matter and exercise. Or
          maybe I am missing what you are really after.

          Kris
        • Tatu Saloranta
          ... Ok. I did notice extends property (but only after sending email), which when combined with other pieces should allow for defining type structures? ...
          Message 4 of 8 , Apr 27, 2009
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            On Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 2:25 PM, Kris Zyp <kriszyp@...> wrote:
            >
            > Tatu Saloranta wrote:
            >>
            >> One thing that is currently missing (AFAIK) from JSON stack is the
            >> equivalent of useful parts of W3C Schema ("xml schema").
            ...
            >
            > JSON Schema can certainly be used for that purpose, I am using JSON
            > Schema for typing in Dojo and Persevere, and not just for validating
            > existing JSON structures.

            Ok. I did notice 'extends' property (but only after sending email),
            which when combined with other pieces should allow for defining type
            structures?

            >> What I mean by this is that the only real advantage of, say, SOAP over
            >> similar simpler JSON+Rest approach is that of having language-agnostic
            >> data model that can be used for full object binding and serialization;
            >
            > I am not sure if this exactly what you are talking, but we have been
            > discussing using JSON Schema as a way to define hyperlink properties in
            > JSON structures to provide interoperability in RESTful JSON:

            Basically I am thinking of supporting both schema-first model
            (generaring classes/stubs from definition) and code first (annotating
            to produce schema).
            And for Java, perhaps generate bean-validation annotations, for schema
            first case.

            Perhaps what would be nice would be more along the lines of providing
            more convenient syntax to express already defined json schema model.

            ...
            > The "extends" attribute of JSON Schema is designed specifically to meet
            > the needs of describing data structures with inheritance. Is this
            > insufficient for your polymorphic description needs?

            Probably not -- initially I just missed it. :-/

            It does however need to be coupled with some definition of how to
            include type identifier in json content ("#type" field? standard name,
            or perhaps configurable with schema). Is there something in Json
            schema to define this? Or if not, could it be added?
            Type is needed to deserialize specific sub-type instance; on
            serialization full type is known, but on deserialization only declared
            type, and full type needs to be available from json content (can
            optimize this out for leaf types).

            ...
            > "JSON-WS" hints more at RPC type communication, which is what SMD is
            > designed for (which uses JSON Schema):

            True, I should have clarified that. This would be the data/type model
            that is useful (and sort of required) for WS, but specifically not the
            web service definition itself (no end points, operations etc defined).
            Like XML Schema part that Soap/WSDL build on.

            ...
            > JSON Schema can as simple as the subset you want to use. {} is a valid
            > schema (although not particularly useful). We have discussed formally
            > defining a subset of JSON Schema for more traditional data-typing style
            > constraints, but when after some discussion of how easy it is to ignore
            > non-relevant parts of the spec, it seemed like kind of a silly exercise.
            > Of course, if you want to define a non JSON-based data type modeling
            > system, that is indeed a completely different matter and exercise. Or
            > maybe I am missing what you are really after.

            Ok, thanks. Sub-setting could definitely work. I need to read json
            schema proposal with some more thought. I am interested in syntax
            part, as well as some limitations on what kinds of schemas would be
            allowed -- certain kinds of unions might not be representable on OO
            side.

            Also: is the use of json as format for schema a fundamental goal? To
            me it seems that there are benefits to using more compact and
            expressive notation, but not much benefit from using JSON (i.e.
            complexity is not within parsing of schema but in processing it).
            I don't mind having a json serialization (RelaxNG - like "dual"
            model), but really like the idea of having something more optimal for
            the domain.

            -+ Tatu +-
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