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Unique (stable) ID in graphml node elements

+3 votes

From other answers on this site [1][2], I understand that the id attribute in the graphml node elements are auto-generated on saving.  This clearly satisfies the uniqueness property required by graphml but makes comparing (the structure of) different versions of a graphml file more difficult since node ids change as the graph is edited.

I also understand that it is possible to add additional custom properties and to manually edit those properties as the graph is edited.  This method can be used to provide a stable identifier for a given node but maintaining the uniqueness within the graph is a very manual and error-prone process.  e.g. copying a node always requires a manual edit of the new node to prevent duplicate IDs.

I would like to request a slightly different behaviour for the allocation of the id in the saved files:

  1. As each node is created (as new or as a copy), generate a version 4 (random) UUID [3] to be used as the id attribute for that node.
  2. When a file is saved, write the node's UUID to the file as the id attribute in the graphml file.
  3. When a file is loaded, recover (and remember) the id from the file.
  4. On subsequent saves, preserve the id value.

This would provide a unique identifier that was stable across edits to a graph.

This algorithm would also appear to solve one of your other feature requests [4].

Thanks for providing such a useful graph drawing tool, and thanks for taking the time to consider this request.

[1] http://yed.yworks.com/support/qa/10104/change-node-key-from-int-to-a-user-selected-string

[2] http://yed.yworks.com/support/qa/812/imported-node-and-edge-ids-are-overwritten

[3] https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc4122#section-4.4

[4] http://yed.yworks.com/support/qa/812/imported-node-and-edge-ids-are-overwritten




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