[xml] greetings & a question

Greetings.  I am using libxml2 for a new, free network intrusion detection
system called hank.  I hope to announce it publically next month.
So far, I have been very pleased by my experiences using it.

My rule file is xml, and reports are specified like this:

                        <PRIM proto="arp" section="Hdr" field="operation_code" op="&lt;">16535</PRIM>
        hardware_address_space = <field proto="arp" section="Hdr" field="hardware_address_space"/>
        protocol_address_space = <field proto="arp" section="Hdr" field="protocol_address_space"/>
        hardware_address_length = <field proto="arp" section="Hdr" field="hardware_address_length"/>
        protocol_address_length = <field proto="arp" section="Hdr" field="protocol_address_length"/>
        operation_code = <field proto="arp" section="Hdr" field="operation_code"/>
        sender_hardware_address = <field proto="arp" section="Hdr" field="sender_hardware_address"/>
        sender_protocol_address = <field proto="arp" section="Hdr" field="sender_protocol_address"/>
        target_hardware_address = <field proto="arp" section="Hdr" field="target_hardware_address"/>
        target_protocol_address = <field proto="arp" section="Hdr" field="target_protocol_address"/>

This approach was very simple and easy to code; copy the text and replace
the <field> nodes with my field data structure in C.

Now, I would like to allow people to have their reports as more than
plain text documents; I would like to generate xml for such purposes
as supporting idmef or other NIDS xml report formats.  Under such a scheme,
users would instead state rules like this:

                        <PRIM proto="arp" section="Hdr" field="operation_code" op="&lt;">16535</PRIM>
                        <IDMEF-Message version="0.1">
                        <Alert alertid="329440" impact="unknown" version="1">
                        <Analyzer ident="IDS1">
                        <Node category="dns">
                        <Address category="ipv4-addr">

<!--  *************** This is the interesting part. *************** -->
<address> <field proto="arp" section="ipv4" field="source_address"/> </address>


The naive way to code this is: make a copy and walk the tree, looking
for all "field" nodes and replacing them.  This, however, seems rather a
lot of work, and repetitive at that.  I also thought about caching their
location, but the representation of nodes as linked lists makes this
cumbersome to do for a humble C journeyman as myself, and potentially
even more work than walking the entire tree, since large portions of the
tree could be traversed repeatedly unless I get even more adventurous
with my coding, etc.

My question is, is there a way to identify these nodes before-hand, copy
the tree and replace the corresponding nodes in the new tree?  I don't
know if I could xlink them or use some other xml magic to make this easy
or if there's a more obvious approach that I'm just too dumb to realize.
I had ruled out replacing them in the original before copying because of
memory leak fears, but maybe there's a way to adopt this approach.

Any and all advice is welcome and appreciated.

Todd Lewis
tlewis mindspring com

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