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Oracle® XML Developer's Kit Programmer's Guide
11g Release 2 (11.2)

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21 Determining XML Differences Using C

The Oracle XDK includes components that help you to determine the differences between the contents of two XML documents and then to apply the differences (patch) to one of the XML documents.

This chapter contains these topics:

Overview of XMLDiff in C

You can use Oracle XmlDiff to determine the differences between two similar XML documents. XmlDiff generates an Xdiff instance document that indicates the differences. The Xdiff instance document is an XML document that conforms to an XML schema, the Xdiff schema.

You can then use XmlPatch, which takes the Xdiff instance document and applies the changes to other documents. This can be used to apply the same changes to a large number of XML documents.

XmlDiff only supports the DOM API for input and output.

XmlPatch also supports the DOM for the input and patch documents.

XmlDiff and XmlPatch can be used through a C API or a command-line tool, and they are exposed by two SQL functions.

An XmlHash C API is provided to compute the hash value of an XML tree or subtree. If hash values of two trees or subtrees are equal, the trees are identical to a very high probability.

Flow of Process for XMLDiff

The flow of the process is as follows:

  1. The two input documents are compared by XmlDiff.

  2. XmlDiff creates a Xdiff instance document.

  3. The application can pass the Xdiff instance document to XmlPatch, if this is required.

  4. XmlPatch can apply the differences captured from the comparison to other documents as specified by the application.

Using XmlDiff

XmlDiff compares the trees that represent the two input documents to determine differences.

Both input documents must use the same character-set encoding. The Xdiff (output) instance document has the same encoding as the data encoding (DOM encoding) of the input documents.

User Options for Optimization

There are two options for the comparison, known as optimizations:

  • Global Optimization - Default

    The whole document trees are compared.

  • Local Optimization

    Comparison is at the sibling level. Local optimization compares siblings under the corresponding parents from two trees.

Global optimization can take more time and space for large documents but always produces the smallest set of differences (the optimal difference). Local optimization is much faster, but may not produce the optimal difference.

User Option for Hashing

Hashing generally speeds up global optimization with a small possible loss in quality. Hashing improves the quality of the difference output, with local optimization. Using different hash levels may generate both local and global differences.

You can specify the use of hashing for both local and global optimization.

To specify hashing, provide the hashLevel parameter. If hashLevel is greater than 1, then only the DOMHash values are used for comparing all subtrees at depth >= hashLevel of difference. If the hash values are equal, then the subtrees are presumed to be equal.

How XmlDiff Looks at Input Documents

XmlDiff ignores differences in the order of attributes while doing the comparison.

XmlDiff ignores DocType declarations. Files are not validated against the DTD.

XmlDiff ignores any differences in the namespace prefixes as long as the namespace prefixes refer to the same namespace URI. Otherwise, if two nodes have the same local name and content but differ in namespace URI, these differences are indicated.

Note:

XmlDiff operates on its input documents in a nonschema-based way. It does not operate on elements or attributes in a type-aware manner.

Using the XmlDiff Command-Line Utility

Table 21-1 describes command-line options:

Table 21-1 XmlDiff Command-Line Options for the C Language

Option Description

-e encoding

Specify default input-file encoding. If no encoding is specified in XML file, this encoding is assumed for input.

-E encoding

Specify output/data encoding. DOMs and the Xdiff instance document are created in this encoding. Default is UTF8.

-h hashLevel

Specify the hash level. 0 means none.

If greater than 1, starting depth to use hashing for subtrees.

-g

Set global optimization (default).

-l

Set local optimization.

-p

Show this usage help.

-u

Disable update operation.


Sample Input Document

Example 21-1 is a sample xml document that can be used to explain updates resulting from using both XmlDiff and XmlPatch. It is followed by some hypothetical changes.

Example 21-1 book1.xml

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<booklist xmlns="http://booklist.oracle.com">
  <book>    
    <title>Twelve Red Herrings</title>
    <author>Jeffrey Archer</author>
    <publisher>Harper Collins</publisher>
    <price>7.99</price>      
  </book>
  <book>
    <title language="English">The Eleventh Commandment</title>
    <author>Jeffrey Archer</author>
    <publisher>McGraw Hill</publisher>   
    <price>3.99</price>
  </book>
  <book>
    <title language="English" country="USA">C++ Primer</title>
    <author>Lippmann</author>
    <publisher>Harper Collins</publisher>   
    <price>4.99</price>
  </book>          
  <book>
    <title>Emperor's New Mind</title>
    <author>Roger Penrose</author>
    <publisher>Oxford Publishing Company</publisher>
    <price>15.9</price>
  </book>          
  <book>
    <title>Evening News</title>
    <author>Arthur Hailey</author>
    <publisher>MacMillan Publishers</publisher>
    <price>9.99</price>
  </book>  
</booklist>

Assume that there is another file, book2.xml, that looks just like the Example 21-1, "book1.xml" except that it results in the following:

Deletes "The Eleventh Commandment", a delete-node operation.

Changes the country code for the "C++ Primer" to US from USA, an update-node operation.

Adds a description to "Emperor's New Mind", an append-node operation.

Add the edition to "Evening News", an insert-node-before operation.

Updates the price of "Evening News", an update-node operation.

Sample Xdiff Instance Document

This section shows the Xdiff instance document produced by the comparison of these two XML files described in the previous section. The sections that follow explain the XML processing instructions and the operations on this document.

You can invoke XmlDiff as follows:

> xmldiff book1.xml book2.xml

You can also examine the sample application for arguments and flags.

Example 21-2 Sample Xdiff Instance Document

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<xd:xdiff xsi:schemaLocation="http://xmlns.oracle.com/xdb/xdiff.xsd
xmlns:xd="http://xmlns.oracle.com/xdb/xdiff.xsd" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" 
xmlns:oraxdfns_0="http://booklist.oracle.com">
    <?oracle-xmldiff operations-in-docorder="true" output-model="snapshot" 
        diff-algorithm="global"?> 
    <xd:delete-node xd:node-type="element" xd:xpath="/oraxdfns_0
              :booklist[1]/oraxdfns_0:book[2]"/>
    <xd:update-node xd:node-type="attribute" 
         xd:parent-xpath="/oraxdfns_0:booklist[1]/oraxdfns_0:book[3]/oraxdfns_0
              :title[1]" xd:attr-local="country">
                <xd:content>US</xd:content>
    </xd:update-node>
    <xd:append-node xd:node-type="element" xd:parent-xpath="/oraxdfns_0
              :booklist[1]/oraxdfns_0:book[4]">
        <xd:content>
            <oraxdfns_0:description> This is a classic </oraxdfns_0:description>
        </xd:content>
    </xd:append-node>
    <xd:insert-node-before xd:node-type="element" xd:xpath="/oraxdfns_0
              :booklist[1]/oraxdfns_0:book[5]/oraxdfns_0:author[1]">
        <xd:content>
            <oraxdfns_0:edition>Hardcover</oraxdfns_0:edition>
        </xd:content>
    </xd:insert-node-before>
    <xd:update-node xd:node-type="text" xd:xpath="/oraxdfns_0
           :booklist[1]/oraxdfns_0:book[5]/oraxdfns_0:price[1]/text()[1]">
        <xd:content>12.99</xd:content>
    </xd:update-node>
</xd:xdiff>

Output Model and XML Processing Instructions

The Xdiff instance document uses some XML processing instructions (shown in bold in the previous section) that are used to represent certain aspects of the differencing process. See "Xdiff Schema". These instructions and related options are:

  • operations-in-docorder: Options are true or false:

    • true - The Xdiff instance document refers to the nodes from the first document in the same order as in the document.

    • false - The Xdiff instance document does not refer to the nodes from the first document in the same order as in the document.

    The output of global optimization meets the operations-in-docorder requirement, but local optimization does not.

  • output-model: Options are:

    • snapshot - Xmldiff generates output in snapshot model and follows the UNIX diff model. Each operation uses XPath as if no operations have been applied to the input document. This is the default. XmlPatch can only handle this model if operations-in-docorder is set to true and the XPaths are simple. Simple XPaths require a child axis, no wild cards, and must use positional predicates, such as /root[1]/child[2]/text()[2].

    • current - Each operation uses XPath as if all operations up to the previous one have been applied to the input document. Even though XmlDiff does not generate differences in the current model, XmlPatch can handle a hand-crafted diff document in the current model

  • diff-algorithm: Options indicate which optimization generated the differences.

    • Global optimization

    • Local optimization

Xdiff Operations

XmlDiff captures differences using operations indicated by the Xdiff instance document.

Note the following about Xdiff operations:

  • The parent-xpath attribute or xpath attribute specifies the XPATH location of the parent node of the node to be operated on or XPATH location of node.

  • The node-type attribute specifies the type of the node to be operated on.

  • The content child element specifies the new subtree or value appended or inserted.

The Xdiff operations, presented in the Xdiff Instance Document, are as follows:

  • append-node:

    The append-node element specifies that a node of the given type is added as the last child of the given parent.

  • insert-node-before:

    The insert-node-before element specifies that a node of the given type is inserted before the given reference node.

  • delete-node:

    The delete-node element specifies that the node be deleted along with all its children. This can be used to delete elements, comments, and so on.

  • update-node:

    update-node specifies that the value associated with the node with the given XPath expression is updated to the new value, which is specified. Content is the value for a text node. The value of an attribute is the value for an attribute node.

    • Update for Text Nodes:

      • Generation of update node operations can be turned off by the user.

      • The value of an attribute is the value for an attribute node.

      • update-node is generated for text nodes only by global optimization.

    • Update for Elements:

      • XmlDiff does not generate update operations for element nodes.

        You can either manually modify the Xdiff instance document to create an update operation that works with XmlPatch, or provide a totally hand-written Xdiff instance document. All children of the element operated on by the update are deleted. Any new subtree specified under the content node is imported.

Format of Xdiff Instance Document

The output of XmlDiff, the Xdiff instance document, is in XML format and conforms to the Xdiff schema shown in the next section.

The output document contains a sequence of operations describing the differences between the two input documents. If you apply the differences from the first document, you get the second document.

Xdiff Schema

Example 21-3 shows the Xdiff schema to which the Xdiff instance document (output) adheres.

Example 21-3 Xdiff Schema: xdiff.xsd

<schema targetNamespace="http://xmlns.oracle.com/xdb/xdiff.xsd" 
    xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema" 
    xmlns:xd="http://xmlns.oracle.com/xdb/xdiff.xsd" 
    version="1.0" elementFormDefault="qualified"
    attributeFormDefault="qualified"> 
    <annotation> 
        <documentation xml:lang="en"> 
         Defines the structure of XML documents that capture the difference 
         between two XML documents. Changes that are not supported by Oracle 
         XmlDiff may not be expressible in this schema. 
           
       'oracle-xmldiff' PI in Xdiff document:
 
       We use 'oracle-xmldiff' PI to describe certain aspects of the diff.
       The PI denotes values for 'operations-in-docorder' and 'output-model'.
       The output of XmlDiff has the PI always. If the user hand-codes a diff doc
       then it must also have the PI in it as the first child of top level xdiff
       element, to be able to call XmlPatch.
 
       operations-in-docorder: 
       Can be either 'true' or 'false'.
       If true, the operations in the diff document refer to the
       elements of the input doc in the same order as document order. Output of
       global algorithm meets this requirement while local does not.
       
       output-model:
       output models for representing the diff. Can be either 'Snapshot' or 
       'Current'.
 
       Snapshot model:
       Each operation uses Xpaths as if no operations
       have been applied to the input document. (like UNIX diff)
       This is the model used in the output of XmlDiff. XmlPatch works with 
       this (and the current model too).
       For XmlPatch to handle this model, "operations-in-docorder" must be 
       true and the Xpaths must be simple. (see XmlDif C API documentation).
 
       Current model:
       Each operation uses Xpaths as if all operations till the previous one
       have been applied to the input document. Works with XmlPatch even if 
       the 'operations-in-docorder' criterion is not met and the xpaths are 
       not simple.
       <!-- Example:
            <?oracle-xmldiff operations-in-docorder="true" output-model=
            "snapshot" diff-algorithm="global"?>
        -->
      </documentation> 
    </annotation> 
    <!-- Enumerate the supported node types --> 
    <simpleType name="xdiff-nodetype"> 
        <restriction base="string"> 
            <enumeration value="element"/> 
            <enumeration value="attribute"/> 
            <enumeration value="text"/> 
            <enumeration value="cdata"/> 
            <enumeration value="entity-reference"/>
            <enumeration value="entity"/>
            <enumeration value="processing-instruction"/>
            <enumeration value="notation"/>
            <enumeration value="comment"/>            
         </restriction> 
    </simpleType>
 
    <element name="xdiff"> 
        <complexType> 
            <choice minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="unbounded"> 
                <element name="append-node"> 
                    <complexType> 
                        <sequence> 
                            <element name="content" type="anyType"/> 
                        </sequence> 
                        <attribute name="node-type" type="xd:xdiff-nodetype"/> 
                        <attribute name="xpath" type="string"/> 
                        <attribute name="parent-xpath" type="string"/> 
                        <attribute name="attr-local" type="string"/>
                        <attribute name="attr-nsuri" type="string"/>
                    </complexType> 
                </element>
 
                <element name="insert-node-before"> 
                    <complexType> 
                        <sequence> 
                            <element name="content" type="anyType"/> 
                        </sequence> 
                        <attribute name="xpath" type="string"/> 
                        <attribute name="node-type" type="xd:xdiff-nodetype"/>
 
                    </complexType> 
                </element>
 
                <element name="delete-node"> 
                    <complexType> 
                        <attribute name="node-type" type="xd:xdiff-nodetype"/>
                        <attribute name="xpath" type="string"/> 
                        <attribute name="parent-xpath" type="string"/> 
                        <attribute name="attr-local" type="string"/>
                        <attribute name="attr-nsuri" type="string"/>
                    </complexType> 
                </element>
                 <element name="update-node"> 
                    <complexType> 
                        <sequence> 
                            <element name="content" type="anyType"/> 
                        </sequence> 
                        <attribute name="node-type" type="xd:xdiff-nodetype"/> 
                        <attribute name="parent-xpath" type="string"/> 
                        <attribute name="xpath" type="string"/> 
                        <attribute name="attr-local" type="string"/>
                        <attribute name="attr-nsuri" type="string"/>
                    </complexType> 
                </element>
                <element name="rename-node"> 
                    <complexType> 
                        <sequence> 
                            <element name="content" type="anyType"/> 
                        </sequence> 
                        <attribute name="xpath" type="string"/> 
                        <attribute name="node-type" type="xd:xdiff-nodetype"/> 
                    </complexType> 
                </element>
            </choice> 
         <attribute name="xdiff-version" type="string"/> 
        </complexType> 
    </element> 
</schema>

Using XMLDiff in an Application

In an application, XmlDiff takes the source types and locations of the input documents as arguments. The source type can be a URL, file, orastream and stream context pointers, buffer, and buffer_length pointers or the pointer to a DOM document element (docelement).

XmlDiff returns the document node for the DOM for the Xdiff instance document.

XmlDiff builds the DOM for the two documents, if they are not already provided as DOM, before performing a comparison.

See Also:

Oracle Database XML C API Reference, for the C API for the flags that control the behavior of XmlDiff

Example 21-4 XMLDiff Application

# include <xmldf.h>
...
xmlctx     *xctx;
xmldocnode *doc1, *doc2, *doc3;
uword       hash_level;
oratext    *s, *inp1 = "book1.xml", *inp2="book2.xml";
xmlerr      err;
ub4         flags;

flags = 0; /* defaults : global algorithm */
hash_level = 0; /* no hashing */
/* create XML meta context */
if (!(xctx = XmlCreate(&err, (oratext *) "XmlDiff", NULL)))
{
   printf("Failed to create XML context, error %u\n",
(unsigned) err);
err_exit("Exiting");
}
/* Load the two input files */
if (!(doc1 = XmlLoadDom(xctx, &err, "file", inp1, "discard_whitespace", TRUE,
 NULL)))
{
   printf("Parsing first file failed, error %u\n", (unsigned)err);
   err_exit((oratext *)"Exiting.");
}
if (!(doc2 = XmlLoadDom(xctx, &err, "file", inp2, "discard_whitespace", TRUE,
    NULL)))
{
   printf("Parsing second file failed, error %u\n", (unsigned)err);
   err_exit((oratext *)"Exiting.");
}
 
/* run XmlDiff on the DOM trees. */
 
doc3 = XmlDiff(xctx, &err, flags, XMLDF_SRCT_DOM, doc1, NULL, XMLDF_SRCT_DOM,
               doc2, NULL,hash_level, NULL);
 
if(!doc3)
   printf("XmlDiff Failed, error %u\n", (unsigned)err);
else
{
if(err != XMLERR_OK)
printf("XmlDiff returned error %u\n", (unsigned)err);
/* Now we have the DOM tree in doc3 which represent the Diff */
...
}
 
XmlFreeDocument(xctx, doc1);
XmlFreeDocument(xctx, doc2);
XmlFreeDocument(xctx, doc3);
XmlDestroy(xctx);

Customized Output

A customized output builder stores differences in any format suitable to the application. You can create your own customized output builder, rather than using the default Xdiff instance document, generated by XmlDiff and which conforms to the Xdiff schema.

To do this, you must provide a callback that can be called after XmlDiff determines the differences. The differences are passed to the callback as an array of xmdlfop. The callback may be called multiple times as the differences are being generated.

Using a customized output builder may perform better than using the default, because it does not have to maintain the internal state necessary for XPath generation.

By default, XmlDiff captures the differences in XML conforming to Xdiff schema. If necessary, plug in your own output builder. The differences are represented as an array xmldfop. You must write an output builder callback function. The function signature is:

xmlerr(*xdfobcb)(void *uctx, xmldfop *escript, ub4 escript_siz);

uctx is the user specific context.

escript is the array of size escript_siz:

diff[escript_siz]

mctx is the memory context.

Supply this memory context through properties to XmlDiff(). Use this memory context to allocate escript. You must later free escript.

Invoke the output builder callback after the differences have been found which happens even before the call to XmlDiff() returns. The output builder callback can be called multiple times.

Example 21-5 Customized XMLDiff Output

 /* Sample useage:  */
 ...
 #include <orastruc.h> / * for 'oraprop' * /
 ...
 static oraprop diff_props[] = {
    ORAPROP(XMLDF_PROPN_CUSTOM_OB, XMLDF_PROPI_CUSTOM_OB, POINTER),
    ORAPROP(XMLDF_PROPN_CUSTOM_OBMCX, XMLDF_PROPI_CUSTOM_OBMCX, POINTER),
    ORAPROP(XMLDF_PROPN_CUSTOM_OBUCX, XMLDF_PROPI_CUSTOM_OBUCX, POINTER),
        { NULL }
  }; 
  ...
  oramemctx *mymemctx;
  ...
  xmlerr myob(void *uctx,  xmldfop *escript, ub4 escript_siz)
  {
     /* process diff which is available in escript * /
     
     /* free escript - the caller has to do this * /
     OraMemFree(mymemctx, escript);
  }
 
  main()
  {
   ...
      myctxt  *myctx;
 
      diff_props[0].value_oraprop.p_oraprop_v = myob;
      diff_props[1].value_oraprop.p_oraprop_v = mymemctx;
      diff_props[2].value_oraprop.p_oraprop_v = myctx;
      XmlDiff(xctx, &err, 0, doc1, NULL, 0, doc2, NULL, 0, diff_props);
 ...
  }

Using XmlPatch

XmlPatch takes the Xdiff instance document, either as generated by XmlDiff or created by another mechanism, and follows the instructions in the Xdiff instance document to modify other XML documents as specified.

Using the XmlPatch Command-Line Utility

Table 21-2 describes the XmlPatch command-line options:

Table 21-2 XmlPatch for C Command-Line Options

Option Description

-e encoding

Specify default input-file encoding. If no encoding is specified in XML file, this encoding is assumed for input.

-E encoding

Specify output/data encoding. DOMs and patched document are created in this encoding. Default is UTF8.

-i

Interpret file names as URLs.

-h

Show this usage help.


Using XmlPatch in an Application

XmlPatch takes the source types and locations of the input document and the diff document as arguments. The source type can be a URL, file, orastream and stream context pointers, buffer and buffer_length pointers, or the pointer to a DOM document element (docelement).

See Also:

Oracle Database XML C API Reference, for the C API for the flags that control the behavior of XmlPatch

The modes that were set by the Xdiff schema affect how XmlPatch works.

If the output-model is Snapshot, XmlPatch only works if operations-in-docorder is TRUE.

If the output-model is Current, it is not necessary that operations-in-docorder be set to TRUE.

Example 21-6 Sample Application for XmlPatch

...
#include <xmldf.h>
...
xmlctx     *xctx;
xmldocnode *doc1, *doc2;
oratext    *s;
oratext    *inp1 = "book1.xml"; /* input document */
oratext    *inp2 = "diff.xml", /* diff document */
xmlerr      err;
 
/* create XML meta context */
if (!(xctx = XmlCreate(&err, (oratext *) "XmlPatch", NULL)))
{
   printf("Failed to create XML context, error %u\n",
(unsigned) err);
err_exit("Exiting");
}
/* Load the two input files */
if (!(doc1 = XmlLoadDom(xctx, &err, "file", inp1, "discard_whitespace", TRUE,
    NULL)))
{
   printf("Parsing first file failed, error %u\n", (unsigned)err);
   err_exit((oratext *)"Exiting.");
}
if (!(doc2 = XmlLoadDom(xctx, &err, "file", inp2, "discard_whitespace", TRUE,
    NULL)))
{
   printf("Parsing second file failed, error %u\n", (unsigned)err);
   err_exit((oratext *)"Exiting.");
}
 
/* call XmlPatch */
if(!XmlPatch(xctx, &err, 0, XMLDF_SRCT_DOM, doc1, NULL, XMLDF_SRCT_DOM,
           doc2, NULL, NULL));
 
   printf("XmlPatch Failed, error %u\n", (unsigned)err);
else
{
if(err != XMLERR_OK)
printf("XmlPatch returned error %u\n", (unsigned)err);
/* Now we have the patched document in doc1 */
...
}
 
XmlFreeDocument(xctx, doc1);
XmlFreeDocument(xctx, doc2);
XmlDestroy(xctx);

Using XmlHash

Oracle XDK provides XmlHash, which computes a hash value for an XML tree or subtree. If the hash values of two subtrees are equal, it is highly probable that they are the same XML. This can be used to do a quick comparison, for example, if you want to see if the XML tree is already in the database.

You can run XmlDiff again, if necessary, on any matches, to be absolutely certain there is a match. You can compute the hash value of the new document and query the database for it.

Example 21-7 shows a sample program that uses XmlHash.

Example 21-7 XmlHash Program

sword main(sword argc, char *argv[])
{
   xmlctx     *xctx;
   xmldfsrct   srct;
   oratext    *data_encoding, *input_encoding, *s, *inp1;
   ub1         flags;
   xmlerr      err;
   ub4         num_args;
   xmlhasht    digest;
   flags = 0; /* defaults */
   srct = XMLDF_SRCT_FILE;
   inp1 = "somexml.xml";
   xctx = XmlCreate(&err, (oratext *) "XmlHash", NULL);
 
   if (!xctx)
   {
      /* handle error with creating xml context and exit */
      ...
   }
 
   /* run XmlHash */
   err = XmlHash(xctx, &digest, 0, srct, inp1, NULL, NULL);
   if(err)
      printf("XmlHash returned error:%d \n", err);
   else
      txdfha_pd(digest);
 
   XmlDestroy(xctx);
 
   return (sword )err;
}
 
/* print bytes in xml hash */
static void txdfha_pd(xmlhasht digest)
{
   ub4  i;
 
   for(i = 0; i < digest.l_xmlhasht; i++)
      printf("%x ", digest.d_xmlhasht[i]);
 
   printf("\n");
}

Calling XmlDiff and XmlPatch

XmlDiff and XmlPatch can be called as command-line tools and from the C language. They are also available as SQL functions.