Object Store concepts

Haplo’s Object Store allows ‘any’ information to be represented as a linked graph of loosely typed objects.


Objects are ordered lists of (descriptor, qualifier, value) triples. The descriptor and qualifier say what the value means, eg “Title, Alternative”, to implement qualified Dublin Core meta data schemes. The value is a bit of data, of various types including text, datetime, numbers and identifiers (phone number, ISBN, URL, etc) and most importantly, object reference, acting as a link to other objects.

Everything is defined in terms of objects, eg descriptors themselves are object references to a schema object describing the descriptor.

The object store places no restrictions on the data, but uses the following if they are present:

  • The first field with TITLE descriptor is used as the title for the object in sorting and for “exact title” searching
  • The first field with TYPE descriptor is used as the type for the object for doing searching (type is a link to a type descriptor object)
  • The first field with PARENT descriptor is used to define hierarchies of objects

Any of these fields can be changed at any time without restriction, and this is used by the application.

Aliased attributes

Aliased attributes are used by the Haplo user interface to rename other attributes when their meaning in a particular context is inappropriate, or where another data type is more useful.

A good example of the use of aliased attributes is in the default Person type. Haplo uses taxonomies in the Subject attribute to classify all objects consistently. However, people are not about a subject, rather they have an expertise in a subject. So the Subject attribute is aliased to Expertise, when used on a Person type. In addition, the Title field is aliased to Name and set to the Person’s name data type. While every object must have a title for display in search results and links, Title means something different when referring to people, and the person’s name data type is much better for writing names than a simple text field.

Aliased attributes are applied in the user interface only. Stored objects use the underlying attributes, and when writing objects using this API, aliased attributes cannot be used.

Object References

Object references (objrefs) look like 8qw57. They are formed as a hexadecimal number, with the transformation tr/abcdef/qvwxyz/ applied to remove the possibility of spelling words in object URLs.

Since attributes, qualifiers and types are all defined by objects, objrefs are used to describe them in the XML API.