Cross-referencing Metadata

An extension to Open Metadata to support the notion of cross-referencing.

Copyright, Change Process and Language is derived via inheritance as per RFC1


Exposing encapsulation

Metadata may be exposed so that it may later be referenced by name, rather than via absolute path.

>>> location = om.Location('/home/marcus')
>>> mydata = om.Dataset('mydata.string', data='World', parent=location)
>>> om.dump(mydata)
>>> om.expose(mydata, 'ImportantMessage')

At this point, ‘/home/marcus’ will contain an absolute reference to the metadata mydata.string by the (unique) name of ImportantMessage that may be referenced via children at any level below the current hierarchy.

>>> location = om.Location('/home/marcus/desktop')
>>> somedata = om.Dataset('somedata.string', parent=location)
>>> = 'Hello {ImportantMessage}'
'Hello World'


In the above example the curly-braces (“{}”) are used as a means to distinguish a cross-reference from other content. In this scenario, the curly-braces are referred to as a marker.

A trustworthy encapsulation

Similar to attribute access within an inheritance tree, referencing is a one-way street. Children MUST be able to access metadata exposed by parents, but parents MUST NOT be able to access metadata exposed by children.

This won’t work

# Expose data with a child
location = om.Location('/home/marcus')
dataset = om.Dataset('exposed_data.bool', data=True, parent=location)
om.expose(dataset, 'MyExposedData')
# Try and referencing it from a parent
>>> location = om.Location('/home')
>>> dataset = om.Dataset('referencing_data.string', parent=location)
>>> = 'I love ice-cream: {MyExposedData}'
Exception: Exposed data 'MyExposedData' not found

When exposition conflicts

Since any child within a hierarchy may choose to expose metadata, it is possible for a unique name exposed via a parent to be overwritten by a child. This is perfectly fine in most scenarios as it facilitates a cascading behaviour in attribute access which aligns with RFC12/OOM.

>>> dataset1 = om.Dataset('importantdata.string', parent=parent_location)
>>> dataset2 = om.Dataset('veryimportantdata.string', parent=child_location)
>>> om.expose(dataset1, 'importantUniqueName')
>>> om.expose(dataset2, 'importantUniqueName')

However, there may be cases when this MUST NOT be allowed to happen and so the mechanism MUST include a method of asserting this; such as raising an exception or returning an error code either when it is attempted or when multiple names were found upon query.

Escaping the marker

If you encounter a situation where the designated marker necessarily must appear directly infront of a character, you may escape it.

>>> = 'Hello \{ImportantMessage\}'
'Hello {ImportantMessage}'