Secure Querying of Recursive XML Views: A Standard XPath-based Technique

Houari Mahfoud, Abdessamad Imine

Most state-of-the art approaches for securing XML documents allow users to access data only through authorized views defined by annotating an XML grammar (e.g. DTD) with a collection of XPath expressions. To prevent improper disclosure of confidential information, user queries posed on these views need to be rewritten into equivalent queries on the underlying documents. This rewriting enables us to avoid the overhead of view materialization and maintenance. A major concern here is that query rewriting for recursive XML views is still an open problem. To overcome this problem, some works have been proposed to translate XPath queries into non-standard ones, called Regular XPath queries. However, query rewriting under Regular XPath can be of exponential size as it relies on automaton model. Most importantly, Regular XPath remains a theoretical achievement. Indeed, it is not commonly used in practice as translation and evaluation tools are not available. In this paper, we show that query rewriting is always possible for recursive XML views using only the expressive power of the standard XPath. We investigate the extension of the downward class of XPath, composed only by child and descendant axes, with some axes and operators and we propose a general approach to rewrite queries under recursive XML views. Unlike Regular XPath-based works, we provide a rewriting algorithm which processes the query only over the annotated DTD grammar and which can run in linear time in the size of the query. An experimental evaluation demonstrates that our algorithm is efficient and scales well.

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