An algebraic approach to bidirectional updating

S-C. Mu, Z. Hu and M. Takeichi. In The Second Asian Symposium on Programming Language and Systems, pp. 2-18. November 2004.

In many occasions would one encounter the task of maintaining the consistency of two pieces of structured data related by some transform — synchronising bookmarks in different web browsers, the source and the view in an editor, or views in databases, to name a few. This paper proposes a formal model of such tasks, basing on a programming language allowing injective functions only, inspired by previous work on program inversion. The programmer designs the transformation as if she is writing a functional program, while the synchronisation behaviour is automatically derived by algebraic reasoning. The main advantage is being able to deal with duplication and structural changes. The result will be integrated to our structure XML editor in the Programmable Structured Document project.

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