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Expressiveness and Complexity of XML Schema

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Executive Summary

The common abstraction of XML Schema by unranked regular tree languages is not entirely accurate. To shed some light on the actual expressive power of XML Schema, intuitive semantical characterizations of the Element Declarations Consistent (EDC) rule are provided. In particular, it is obtained that schemas satisfying EDC can only reason about regular properties of ancestors of nodes. Hence, w.r.t. expressive power, XML Schema is closer to DTDs than to tree automata. These theoretical results are complemented with an investigation of the XML Schema Definitions (XSDs) occurring in practice, revealing that the extra expressiveness of XSDs over DTDs is only used to a very limited extent.

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