Item Path

This is a snapshot of the specification that was created during midPrivacy: provenance prototype project. For the latest development version of the document please look in Axiom workspace.

Item path identifies particular item or value in Axiom data structures. For example, item path can be used to reference specific data item to be modified.

Item patch is composed from segments separated by slash (/) character:

segment/segment/segment/...

Item names are usually used in path segments:

activation/administrativeStatus

The path refers to item or value in hierarchical Axiom data. Each segment refers to one level in the hierarchy. The path above points to the administrativeStatus item in following data:

JSON
{
  "givenName" : "John",
  "familyName" : "Doe",
  "activation" : {
    "administrativeStatus" : "enabled"
  }
}
XML
<user>
    <givenName>John</givenName>
    <familyName>Doe</familyName>
    <activation>
        <administrativeStatus>enabled</administrativeStatus>
    </activation>
</user>

Namespaces In Item Path

Item path fully supports concept of namespaces. There are two ways how to specify namespaces: using full URIs and using namespace prefixes.

URIs in the item path must be enclosed in parenthesis:

Namespace using full URIs
assignment/(https://schema.example.com/custom#purpose)

Namespace prefixes can be used in item path instead of URIs:

Namespace using prefixes
assignment/example-custom:purpose

The example-custom prefix above represents namespace https://schema.example.com/custom.

Value Keys

Axiom is designed to seamlessly support multi-value data. However, referring to items in hierarchical data structures where multiple values are possible is not entirely straightforward. Let’s consider following data structure:

JSON
{
  "assignment" : [
    {
      "name" : "a1",
      "description" : "first",
      "target" : "t1"
    },
    {
      "name" : "a2",
      "description" : "seqond",
      "target" : "t2"
    }
  ]
}
XML
<user>
    <assignment>
        <name>a1</name>
        <description>first</description>
        <target>t1</target>
    </assignment>
    <assignment>
        <name>a2</name>
        <description>seqond</description>
        <target>t2</target>
    </assignment>
</user>

There is a typo in the description of the second assignment. We want to refer to that specific value to have it fixed (e.g. by using a delta-based modify operation). However, the path assignment/description is ambiguous, as it does not specify which values of assignment it refers to.

Therefore path segments may contain optional identifier:

assignment[a2]/description

The way how the identifier is interpreted may be slightly different for every item or data type. The details are specified in the model.

Item Path Root

Item paths are usually relative. The root of the path resolution is usually implicit. For example the activation/administrativeStatus is usually relative to the top of the object.

Root of the path resolution can be specified explicitly by using the dollar sign ($):

$focus/activation/administrativeStatus

This path is an absolute path, its root is specified by symbol focus. Meaning of focus is implementation-specific. It may be identifier of an object, it may be name of the variable or it may be anything else. The root symbol is considered to be qualified name, therefore it may even be an URI or URL of a network service:

$(https://example.com/users/12345678)/activation/administrativeStatus

Use Of Item Path

There are two principal uses of item path:

  • Referencing items and values in the data. The path points to the data structure, result of path resolution is an item or value.

  • Referencing item definitions in model. The path points to types in the model. Result of path resolution is item definition. Data identifiers in square brackets cannot be used in this case as there are no data to perform resolution on.