Representing Change Tracking in XML Markup

This paper introduces a proposal of a standard mechanism for representing tracked changes in XML. It was presented at XML Prague 2013, Feb 9-10 2013.

Representing those need-to-know changes

This paper presents work done over the past two years to provide an improved change tracking representation for documents in XML. The original intention was to provide improved change tracking for the OpenDocument format (ODF), but the approach is generic and is therefore potentially applicable to other XML document formats and even XML data.

A detailed specification was developed, and prototype implementations developed in Abiword and KWord to demonstrate interoperability. However, developers of the main ODF office packages found the approach a challenge and were less keen to implement it and are currently looking at other options. This paper presents the basic design principles behind the proposal, and how these are satisfied in the approach taken.

Read this conference paper to:

  • Understand the requirement for change tracking within the documents.
  • Review the best practices behind the design of a change tracking format.
  • Understand the issues surrounding structural changes and how these can be represented.
  • Explore the possibilities of using track changing tools independently or integrated within schemas.

The change-­tracking capability of XML editors is fairly basic, for example many do not track attribute changes, and there is no common standard… A standard way of tracking changes in XML documents would provide many benefits.

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