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XSD Indicators


We can control HOW elements are to be used in documents with indicators.


Indicators

There are seven indicators:

Order indicators:

  • All
  • Choice
  • Sequence

Occurrence indicators:

  • maxOccurs
  • minOccurs

Group indicators:

  • Group name
  • attributeGroup name

Order Indicators

Order indicators are used to define the order of the elements.

All Indicator

The <all> indicator specifies that the child elements can appear in any order, and that each child element must occur only once:

<xs:element name="person">
  <xs:complexType>
    <xs:all>
      <xs:element name="firstname" type="xs:string"/>
      <xs:element name="lastname" type="xs:string"/>
    </xs:all>
  </xs:complexType>
</xs:element>

Note: When using the <all> indicator you can set the <minOccurs> indicator to 0 or 1 and the <maxOccurs> indicator can only be set to 1 (the <minOccurs> and <maxOccurs> are described later).

Choice Indicator

The <choice> indicator specifies that either one child element or another can occur:

<xs:element name="person">
  <xs:complexType>
    <xs:choice>
      <xs:element name="employee" type="employee"/>
      <xs:element name="member" type="member"/>
    </xs:choice>
  </xs:complexType>
</xs:element>

Sequence Indicator

The <sequence> indicator specifies that the child elements must appear in a specific order:

<xs:element name="person">
   <xs:complexType>
    <xs:sequence>
      <xs:element name="firstname" type="xs:string"/>
      <xs:element name="lastname" type="xs:string"/>
    </xs:sequence>
  </xs:complexType>
</xs:element>

Occurrence Indicators

Occurrence indicators are used to define how often an element can occur.

Note: For all "Order" and "Group" indicators (any, all, choice, sequence, group name, and group reference) the default value for maxOccurs and minOccurs is 1.

maxOccurs Indicator

The <maxOccurs> indicator specifies the maximum number of times an element can occur:

<xs:element name="person">
  <xs:complexType>
    <xs:sequence>
      <xs:element name="full_name" type="xs:string"/>
      <xs:element name="child_name" type="xs:string" maxOccurs="10"/>
    </xs:sequence>
  </xs:complexType>
</xs:element>

The example above indicates that the "child_name" element can occur a minimum of one time (the default value for minOccurs is 1) and a maximum of ten times in the "person" element.

minOccurs Indicator

The <minOccurs> indicator specifies the minimum number of times an element can occur:

<xs:element name="person">
  <xs:complexType>
    <xs:sequence>
      <xs:element name="full_name" type="xs:string"/>
      <xs:element name="child_name" type="xs:string"
      maxOccurs="10" minOccurs="0"/>
    </xs:sequence>
  </xs:complexType>
</xs:element>

The example above indicates that the "child_name" element can occur a minimum of zero times and a maximum of ten times in the "person" element.

Tip: To allow an element to appear an unlimited number of times, use the maxOccurs="unbounded" statement:

A working example:

An XML file called "Myfamily.xml":

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<persons xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
xsi:noNamespaceSchemaLocation="family.xsd">

<person>
  <full_name>Hege Refsnes</full_name>
  <child_name>Cecilie</child_name>
</person>

<person>
  <full_name>Tove Refsnes</full_name>
  <child_name>Hege</child_name>
  <child_name>Stale</child_name>
  <child_name>Jim</child_name>
  <child_name>Borge</child_name>
</person>

<person>
  <full_name>Stale Refsnes</full_name>
</person>

</persons>

The XML file above contains a root element named "persons". Inside this root element we have defined three "person" elements. Each "person" element must contain a "full_name" element and it can contain up to five "child_name" elements.

Here is the schema file "family.xsd":

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<xs:schema xmlns:xs="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema"
elementFormDefault="qualified">

<xs:element name="persons">
  <xs:complexType>
    <xs:sequence>
      <xs:element name="person" maxOccurs="unbounded">
        <xs:complexType>
          <xs:sequence>
            <xs:element name="full_name" type="xs:string"/>
            <xs:element name="child_name" type="xs:string"
            minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="5"/>
          </xs:sequence>
        </xs:complexType>
      </xs:element>
    </xs:sequence>
  </xs:complexType>
</xs:element>

</xs:schema>

Group Indicators

Group indicators are used to define related sets of elements.

Element Groups

Element groups are defined with the group declaration, like this:

<xs:group name="groupname">
...
</xs:group>

You must define an all, choice, or sequence element inside the group declaration. The following example defines a group named "persongroup", that defines a group of elements that must occur in an exact sequence:

<xs:group name="persongroup">
  <xs:sequence>
    <xs:element name="firstname" type="xs:string"/>
    <xs:element name="lastname" type="xs:string"/>
    <xs:element name="birthday" type="xs:date"/>
  </xs:sequence>
</xs:group>

After you have defined a group, you can reference it in another definition, like this:

<xs:group name="persongroup">
  <xs:sequence>
    <xs:element name="firstname" type="xs:string"/>
    <xs:element name="lastname" type="xs:string"/>
    <xs:element name="birthday" type="xs:date"/>
  </xs:sequence>
</xs:group>

<xs:element name="person" type="personinfo"/>

<xs:complexType name="personinfo">
  <xs:sequence>
    <xs:group ref="persongroup"/>
    <xs:element name="country" type="xs:string"/>
  </xs:sequence>
</xs:complexType>

Attribute Groups

Attribute groups are defined with the attributeGroup declaration, like this:

<xs:attributeGroup name="groupname">
...
</xs:attributeGroup>

The following example defines an attribute group named "personattrgroup":

<xs:attributeGroup name="personattrgroup">
  <xs:attribute name="firstname" type="xs:string"/>
  <xs:attribute name="lastname" type="xs:string"/>
  <xs:attribute name="birthday" type="xs:date"/>
</xs:attributeGroup>

After you have defined an attribute group, you can reference it in another definition, like this:

<xs:attributeGroup name="personattrgroup">
  <xs:attribute name="firstname" type="xs:string"/>
  <xs:attribute name="lastname" type="xs:string"/>
  <xs:attribute name="birthday" type="xs:date"/>
</xs:attributeGroup>

<xs:element name="person">
  <xs:complexType>
    <xs:attributeGroup ref="personattrgroup"/>
  </xs:complexType>
</xs:element>