Exploring Concepts, Constraints and Affordances
Liam R E Quin
XML Activity Lead
The growth in popularity of “Big Data” has brought an increased interest in visualization; that is, in software that draws graphical representations of data in the hope that a human observer can spot emergent patterns. Visualization takes data and shows a usually incomplete view.
People working with XML documents may have large amounts of data to visualize, in which case some of these techniques can be very effective. People may also wish to explore constraints on the XML documents, such as those typically expressed in an XML DTD or schema.
This paper will focus primarily not on data visualization of trends but on explicit visual representation of relationships: that is diagrams that illustrate a DTD schema, an XML instance, a universe of possible instances, and relationships between these things. Techniques used will focus on producing diagrams intended for use in Web browsers using libraries such as D3.js.
An underlying motivation for this work is to explore affordances peculiar to XML documents: to ask, what makes XML special, or, what would need to be reinvented if one were to abandon XML for other systems.