Axiom Syntax

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.

Axiom syntax closely emulates basic Axiom concepts of item & value.

Language syntax was inspired by YANG modeling language from IETF, which tries to strike balance between readability and authoring. (YANG 1.1: 6.3 Statements)
Basic ABNF
item = itemName value;
infra = "@" itemName value;
value = [argument] (";" / "{" *(item|infra) "}");

Normal data item


Value of item. In case of simple type values, argument represents value. In case of complex values, argument represent value of item based on argument in type definition.


Name of item, expected value is prefixed name (also without prefix).


Infra data item - used to specify inframodel specific data.


value of item in case of simple type item, nested value could be prefixed name, number or string.

This provides basic simple structure for language and allows for simpler parser (See ANTLR4 syntax bellow.)

The omission of actual item names from grammar allows for addition of keywords and language extensions without need to change grammar definition (and lexer code). Sharing of same concepts with data model also allows Axiom to be used for data serialization / authoring.

Table 1. Syntax example (model and data)
Simple model syntax example
model simple-user {
  namespace "";
  import "" {
    prefix storage;
  root user { (1)
    type User;
    description "user is root item."; (3)
  type User { (2)
    description """
      Represents simple user.
       of the system.
    """; (4)
    argument username; (5)
    item username { (6)
      type string;
    item note {
      type string;
      storage:indexed fulltext; (7)
1 Item root with argument user
2 Item type with argument User. This is declaration of type User
3 Statement description with single-line string argument
4 Statement description with multi-line string argument
5 Item argument with value username (value type is item name)
6 Item item with name username, This is declaration of item username, which is also target of argument
7 Item indexed from model (added via augmentation)
Data written in Axiom
  user {  (1)
    name "administrator"; (2)
    note """ (3)
      Administrator of system.
      Do NOT remove
1 Root item user (of type User, based on simple-user model)
2 Item name with value administrator
3 Item note with multi-line string value
Same data in Axiom using arguments
user admin { (1)
  note """
    Administrator of system.
    Do NOT remove
1 Item user, child item name has value administrator (via argument, based on simple-user model).
Same data in YAML
  name: administrator
  note: >
    Administrator of system.
    Do NOT remove


model "prism-types" {
  version 4.0;

  type PolyString {
    documentation """
      Polymorphic string.
      String that may have more than one representation at
      the same time. The primary representation is the original version that is
      composed of the full Unicode character set. The other versions may be
      normalized to trim it, normalize character case, normalize spaces,
      remove national characters or even transliterate the string.

      There is an alternative syntactic short-cut representation of PolyString. If no
      child element is present then the text entire text content of this element is
      considered as if it was present in the 'orig' element. That's the reason for making
      this type 'mixed'.

      This is considered to be primitive built-in type for prism objects.

    argument orig; // Allows PolyString to be specified as normal string

    property orig {
      type string;
    property norm {
      type string;
      documentation """
        Normalized value of the string.
        The values is processed by the default normalization algorithm defined
        in the system.""";
    container translation {
      type PolyStringTranslation;
      documentation """
        Definition of string value by using localization key and parameters.
      since 4.0;
    container lang {
      type PolyStringLang;
  type PolyStringLang {
    item lang {
      type string;
      documentation "Language code";