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# Wednesday, December 22, 2010

You might be interested in the following article that was written in form of a little guide. It can educate about new ways to learn SQL and hopefully may help someone to get a job. See "How to get MS SQL certification" that was written by Michele Rouse.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 1:16:49 PM UTC  #    Comments [0] -
# Monday, December 20, 2010

Several times we have already wished to see yield feature in java and all the time came to the same implementation: infomancers-collections. And every time with dissatisfaction turned away, and continued with regular iterators.

Why? Well, in spite of the fact it's the best implementation of the feature we have seen, it's still too heavy, as it's playing with java byte code at run-time.

We never grasped the idea why it's done this way, while there is post-compile time annotation processing in java.

If we would implemented the yeild feature in java we would created a @Yield annotation and would demanded to implement some well defined code pattern like this:

Iteratable<String> iterator()
  // This is part of pattern.
  ArrayList<String> list = new ArrayList<String>();

  for(int i = 0; i < 10; ++i)
    // list.add() plays the role of yield return.

  // This is part of pattern.
  return list;


Iterator<String> iterator()
  // This is part of pattern.
  ArrayList<String> list = new ArrayList<String>();

  for(int i = 0; i < 10; ++i)
    // list.add() plays the role of yield return.

  // This is part of pattern.
  return list.iterator();

Note that the code will work correctly even, if by mischance, post-compile-time processing will not take place.

At post comile time we would do all required refactoring to turn these implementations into a state machines thus runtime would not contain any third party components.

It's iteresting to recall that we have also implemented similar refactoring in pure xslt.

See What you can do with jxom.

Update: implementation can be found at

Monday, December 20, 2010 4:28:35 PM UTC  #    Comments [0] -
Java | Thinking aloud | Tips and tricks | xslt
# Saturday, December 11, 2010

We have a class Beans used to serialize a list of generic objects into an xml. This is done like this:

public class Call
  public Beans input;
  public Beans output;

@XmlJavaTypeAdapter(value = BeanAdapter.class)
public class Beans
  public List<Object> bean;

Thanks to @XmlJavaTypeAdapter, we're able to write xml in whatever form we want.

When we're serializing a Call instance:

Call call = ...
Beans beans = ...;


JAXBContext context = ...;
Marshaller marshaler = context.createMarshaller();
ObjectFactory factory = ...;

marshaler.marshal(factory.createCall(call), result);

things work as expected, meaning that BeanAdapter is used during xml serialization. But if it's happened that you want to serialize a Beans instance itself, you start getting problems with the serialization of unknown objects. That's because JAXB does not use BeanAdapter.

We have found a similar case "How to assign an adapter to the root element?", unfortunately with no satisfactory explanation.

That is strange.

Saturday, December 11, 2010 8:48:00 AM UTC  #    Comments [0] -
Java | Thinking aloud
# Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Last Thursday, 18 Nov 2010, we with our colleagues from BluePhoenix were in a trip at Wadi Kelt. See our photo-report here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 1:23:48 PM UTC  #    Comments [1] -

# Thursday, November 18, 2010

Michael Key, author of the Saxon xslt processor, being inspired by the GWT ideas, has decided to compile Saxon HE into javascript. See Compiling Saxon using GWT.

The resulting script is about 1MB of size.

But what we thought lately, that it's overkill to bring whole xslt engine on a client, while it's possible to generate javascript from xslt the same way as he's building java from xquery. This will probably require some runtime but of much lesser size.

Thursday, November 18, 2010 4:19:52 PM UTC  #    Comments [0] -
Tips and tricks | xslt
# Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Search at An empty sequence is not allowed as the @select attribute of xsl:analyze-string

That's known issue. See Bug 7976.

In xslt 2.0 you should either check the value before using xsl:analyze-string, or wrap it into string() call.

The problem is addressed in xslt 3.0

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 10:11:45 AM UTC  #    Comments [0] -
Tips and tricks | xslt
# Sunday, November 7, 2010

michaelhkay: Saxon 9.3 has been out for 8 days: only two bugs so far, one found by me. I think that's a record.

Not necessary. We, for example, who use Saxon HE, have found nothing new in Saxon 9.3, while expected to see xslt 3.0. Disappointed. No actual reason to migrate.

P.S. We were among the first who were finding early bugs in previous releases.

Sunday, November 7, 2010 9:07:11 AM UTC  #    Comments [0] -
Thinking aloud | xslt
# Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Reading individual papers of C++ WG, you can find the following one:

N3174 10-0164 To move or not to move Bjarne Stroustrup 2010-10-17 2010-10 Core

There, Bjarne Stroustrup thinks about issues with implicitly generated copy and move operations in C++.

It's always a pleasure to see how one can deal with a problem burdened with antagonisms. To conduct his position Bjarne skilfully uses not only rational but also emotional argumentation:

...We may deem this “bad code that deserves to be broken” or “unrealistic”, but this example demonstrates that the problem with a generated move has an exact counterpart for copy (which we have lived with for 27 years)...

...In 1984, I missed the chance to protect us against copy and we have lived with the problems ever since. I should have instituted some rule along the lines “if a class has a destructor, no copy operations are generated” or “if a class has a pointer member, no copy operations are generated.”...

It's impossible to recall this numbers without shivering. :-)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 10:16:08 AM UTC  #    Comments [0] -
Thinking aloud

We're following w3's "Bug 9069 - Function to invoke an XSLT transformation".

There, people argue about xpath API to invoke xslt transformations. Function should look roughly like this:

  $node-tree as node()?,
  $stylesheet as item(),
  $parameters as XXX
) as node()

The discussion is spinning around the last argument: $parameters as XXX. Should it be an xml element describing parameters, a function returning values for parameter names, or some new type modelling immutable map?

What is most interesting in this discussion is the leak about plans to introduce a map type:

Comment 7 Michael Kay, 2010-09-14 22:46:58 UTC

We're currently talking about adding an immutable map to XSLT as a new data type (the put operation would return a new map). There appear to be a number of possible efficient implementations. It would be ideally suited for this purpose, because unlike the mechanism used for serialization parameters, the values can be any data type (including nodes), not only strings.

There is a hope that map will finally appear in xslt!

See also:
Bug 5630 - [DM] Tuples and maps,
Tuples and maps - Status: CLOSED, WONTFIX,
Map, based on immutable trees,
Maps in exslt2?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 8:34:52 AM UTC  #    Comments [0] -
Thinking aloud | xslt
# Monday, November 1, 2010

Historically jxom was developed first, and as such exhibited some imperfectness in its xml schema. csharpxom has taken into an account jxom's problems.

Unfortunately we could not easily fix jxom as a great amount of code already uses it. In this refactoring we tried to be conservative, and have changed only "type" and "import" xml schema elements in java.xsd.

Consider type reference and package import constructs in the old schema:

<!-- import java.util.ArrayList; -->
<import name="java.util.ArrayList"/>

<!-- java.util.ArrayList<java.math.BigDecimal> -->
<type package="java.util">
  <part name="ArrayList">
      <type name="BigDecimal" package="java.math">

<!-- my.Parent.Nested -->
<type package="my">
  <part name="Parent"/>
  <part name="Nested"/>

Here we can observe that:

  • type is referred by a qualified name in import element;
  • type has two forms: simple (see BigDecimal), and other for nested or generic type (see ArrayList).

We have made it more consistent in the updated jxom:

<!-- import java.util.ArrayList; -->
  <type name="ArrayList" package="java.util"/>

<!-- java.util.ArrayList<java.math.BigDecimal> -->
<type name="ArrayList" package="java.util">
    <type name="BigDecimal" package="java.math">

<!-- my.Parent.Nested -->
<type name="Nested">
  <type name="Parent" package="my"/>

We hope that you will not be impacted very much by this fix.

Please refresh Languages XOM from

P.S. we have also included xml schema and xslt api to generate ASPX (see Xslt serializer for ASPX output). We, in fact, in our projects, generate aspx documents with embedded csharpxom, and then pass it through two stage transformation.

Monday, November 1, 2010 3:48:19 PM UTC  #    Comments [0] -
Announce | xslt
# Friday, October 22, 2010

In the previous post we have announced an API to parse a COBOL source into the cobolxom.

We exploited the incremental parser to build a grammar xml tree and then were planning to create an xslt transformation to generate cobolxom.

Now, we would like to declare that such xslt is ready.

At present all standard COBOL constructs are supported, but more tests are required. Preprocessor support is still in the todo list.

You may peek into an examples of COBOL:

Cobol grammar:

And cobolxom:

While we were building a grammar to cobolxom stylesheet we asked ourselves whether the COBOL parsing could be done entirely in xslt. The answer is yes, so who knows it might be that we shall turn this task into pure xslt one. :-)

Friday, October 22, 2010 1:24:31 PM UTC  #    Comments [0] -
Announce | Incremental Parser | Thinking aloud | xslt
# Monday, October 18, 2010

Recently we've seen a code like this:

<xsl:variable name="a" as="element()?" select="..."/>
<xsl:variable name="b" as="element()?" select="..."/>

<xsl:apply-templates select="$a">
  <xsl:with-param name="b" tunnel="yes" as="element()" select="$b"/>

It fails with an error: "An empty sequence is not allowed as the value of parameter $b".

What is interesting is that the value of $a is an empty sequence, so the code could potentially work, provided processor evaluated $a first, and decided not to evaluate xsl:with-param.

Whether the order of evaluation of @select and xsl:with-param is specified by the standard or it's an implementation defined?

We asked this question on xslt forum, and got the following answer:

The specification leaves this implementation-defined. Since the values of the parameters are the same for every node processed, it's a reasonably strategy for the processor to evaluate the parameters before knowing how many selected nodes there are, though I guess an even better strategy would be to do it lazily when the first selected node is found.

Well, that's an expected answer. This question will probably induce Michael Kay to introduce a small optimization into the Saxon.

Monday, October 18, 2010 5:58:51 PM UTC  #    Comments [0] -
Tips and tricks | xslt
# Saturday, October 9, 2010

Once ago we have created an incremental parser, and now when we have decided to load COBOL sources directly into cobolxom (XML Object Model for a COBOL) the parser did the job perfectly.

The good point about incremental parser is that it easily handles COBOL's grammar.

The whole process looks like this:

  1. incremental parser having a COBOL grammar builds a grammar tree;
  2. we stream this tree into xml;
  3. xslt to transform xml from previous step into cobolxom (TODO).

This is an example of a COBOL:


01 NUMB PIC 9(4) VALUE IS 5.
01 FACT PIC 9(8) VALUE IS 0.

01 NUM PIC 9(4).





And a grammar tree:

  <Name data="FACTORIAL"/>
        <Level data="01"/>
        <Name data="NUMB"/>
        <Picture data="9(4)"/>
          <Numeric data="5"/>
        <Level data="01"/>
        <Name data="FACT"/>
        <Picture data="9(8)"/>
          <Numeric data="0"/>
        <Level data="01"/>
        <Name data="NUM"/>
        <Picture data="9(4)"/>
          <String data="'X'"/>
            <DataName data="XXX"/>
            <DataName data="NUMB"/>
            <DataName data="NUM"/>
              <DataName data="NUMB"/>
            <Numeric data="0"/>
              <Numeric data="1"/>
                <DataName data="FACT"/>
              <Numeric data="1"/>
                <DataName data="NUMB"/>
              <String data="'FACTORIAL'"/>
                <DataName data="NUM"/>
                <DataName data="FACT"/>
            <DataName data="NUM"/>
          <String data="'! = '"/>
            <DataName data="FACT"/>
  <EndName data="FACTORIAL"/>

The last step is to transform tree into cobolxom is in the TODO list.

We have commited COBOL grammar in the same place at SourceForge as it was with XQuery grammar. Solution is now under the VS 2010.

Saturday, October 9, 2010 8:26:23 AM UTC  #    Comments [0] -
Announce | Incremental Parser | xslt
# Friday, October 8, 2010

Suppose you have a timestamp string, and want to check whether it fits to one of the following formats with leading and trailing spaces:


We decided to use regex and its capture groups to extract timestamp parts. This left us with only solution: xsl:analyze-string instruction. It took a couple more minutes to reach a final solution:

<xsl:variable name="parts" as="xs:string*">
  <xsl:analyze-string select="$value"
      <xsl:sequence select="regex-group(1)"/>
      <xsl:sequence select="regex-group(2)"/>
      <xsl:sequence select="regex-group(3)"/>

      <xsl:sequence select="regex-group(5)"/>
      <xsl:sequence select="regex-group(6)"/>
      <xsl:sequence select="regex-group(7)"/>

      <xsl:sequence select="regex-group(9)"/>

  <xsl:when test="exists($parts)">

How would you solve the problem? Is it the best solution?

Friday, October 8, 2010 5:37:44 PM UTC  #    Comments [0] -
Tips and tricks | xslt
# Sunday, September 5, 2010

One of our latest tasks was a conversion of data received from mainframe as an EBCDIC flat file into an XML file in UTF-8 encoding for further processing.

The solution was rather straightforward:

  • read the source flat file, record-by-record;
  • serialize each record as an element into target XML file using JAXB.

For reading data from EBCDIC encoded flat file, a good old tool named eXperanto was used. It allows to define C# and/or Java classes that suit for records in the source flat file. Thus we were able to read and convert records from EBCDIC to UTF-8.

The next sub-task was to serialize a Java bean to an XML element. JAXB marshaller was used for this.

Everything was ok, until we had started to test the implementation on real data.

We've realized that some decimal values (BigDecimal fields in Java classes) were serialized in scientific exponential notation. For example: 0.000000365 was serialized as 3.65E-7 and so on.

On the other hand, the target XML was used by another (non Java) application, which expected to receive decimal data, as it was defined in XSD schema (the field types were specified as xs:decimal).

According with W3C datatypes specification:

"...decimal has a lexical representation consisting of a finite-length sequence of decimal digits (#x30-#x39) separated by a period as a decimal indicator. An optional leading sign is allowed. If the sign is omitted, "+" is assumed. Leading and trailing zeroes are optional. If the fractional part is zero, the period and following zero(es) can be omitted. For example: -1.23, 12678967.543233, 100000.00, 210..."

So, the result was predictable, the consumer application fails.

Google search reveals that we deal with a well-known bug: "JAXB marshaller returns BigDecimal with scientific notation in JDK 6". It remains open already an year and half since May 2009, marked as "Fix in progress". We've tested our application with Java version 1.6.0_21-b07, JAXB 2.1.

Although this is rather critical bug that may affect on interoperability of Java applications (e.g. Java web services etc.), its priority was set just as "4-Low".

P.S. as a temporary workaround for this case only(!) we've replaced xs:decimal on xs:double in XSD schema for the target application.

Sunday, September 5, 2010 12:58:23 PM UTC  #    Comments [0] -
Java | Tips and tricks
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