What is a document?

Didier PH Martin martind at netfolder.com
Mon Nov 22 16:39:35 GMT 1999

Hi Steven,

Steven said:
I would say the content is the document. The BizTalk framework will simply
allow content to be transported in a message format, telling processers
which understand the relevent tags (ie. the BizTalk environment) what to do
with the content - where to route it etc...

I suppose it's much like posting a letter, where your content is hidden
within the envelope and the envelope simply has instructions (ie. Airmail,
Address etc..) on how the envelope should be handled? - Not sure about
postcards though?

That's a bit simple to explain the entire framework, but some BizTalk
processing would have to be done, although there is no reason why you should
not be able to directly extract the XML content within the <message> tags?

Didier reply:
I am not so sure. It depends mainly how the document is delivered to the
receiving end.

Hypothesis 1:
The biztalk message is delivered as is to the receiving end. In this case,
the document is the biztalk message and not the message content.

Hypothesis 2:
The biztalk engine removes the biztalk "envelope" and just send the content.
In this case, the content is the document, not the biztalk message (i.e. the
envelope + the content).

So it depends mainly on what is sent to the recipient. If the biztalk system
is used as an internal message passing system then, the content is seen
externally as the document (the biztalk envelope is removed). For instance,
you trading partner is supporting the eco framework (ref:
http://eco.commerce.net) and cxml. In that case, the trading partner do not
understand a biztalk message, the biztalk server has to send only the

On the other hand, if the receiving end, understand biztalk then the content
is not the document, only a fragment. A fragment handler will be matched
with the message content and the content processed. But the whole biztalk
message is then the received document. Let's say now that all the received
biztalk messages are stored in a folder. You want to display one of them.
The sender also provided a style sheet so that you can render the document.
<Question> where is located the <xml-stylesheet> PI? in the content fragment
or at the beginning of the biztalk message?. What is the scope of the
stylesheet? the biztalk message or the message content?
If the sender biztalk engine included the content's style sheet in its own
style sheet, then the receiving end will have to:
a) extract the content
b) extract from the biztalk message the content's style sheet
c) produce a document with the content and the content's style sheet.

Off course this would have been simpler if the fragment got its own style
sheet but a stylesheet has the whole document as a scope not a fragment.

What could then be the behavior of a browser if two different style sheets
are present in the same document? each one targeted to the "screen" media.
Does the browser takes the first style sheet for a certain scope and the
other for the fragment? I doubt, the implicit scope of action for a style
sheet is the document, not a fragment. So, how can I render both the
envelope and the content with the following constraints:
a) the envelope is rendered the way the envelope creator wanted
b) the message's content is rendered the way the content's creator wanted.

Solution 1:
Both the envelope and the content have a separate style sheet. Question: is
this document a valid XML+XSLT  document (if XSLT is used for styling)?

solution 2:
The biztalk message include a single style sheet which includes (i.e import)
the content style sheet. The biztalk message has only one stylesheet. Then,
in that case, the biztalk message becomes the document, not the content.

solution 3:
Or both the biztalk envelope and the content have each separate style
sheets. In this case, there is an implicit rule that the content is always
removed for processing and that a biztalk message is not a document. That it
cannot be processed for rendition before the content is removed from the
envelope. Or that is has first to be splitted into two documents 1) the
envelope, 2) the content. This implies that a biztalk message is not a
displayable message per se and that some extraction has to be performed
before rendition.

You see funny problems brought by using XML as data exchange tools and that
this format is also a document format. Therefore a data exchange gizmo is
also a document and as such could be rendered with document rendition tools.
However, we do not have such standards concepts in the XML world for things
1) envelope (like found in telecom)
2) multiple rendition scope ( a style sheet attached to a particular

My own conclusion with the actual XML state of the art: the biztalk message
is the document not the message content.

Didier PH Martin
mailto:martind at netfolder.com

Didier PH Martin
mailto:martind at netfolder.com

Didier PH Martin
mailto:martind at netfolder.com

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