The running theme of the column has been semantic transparency: the ability to correctly interpret the contents of XML documents. Semantic transparency might be the most important aspect of XML modeling. This is first in a series of articles that review the many different approaches to semantic transparency and discuss what they mean to developers using XML.
For any reasonably complex data set, you need multiple views to navigate it. Take a QA test system, for example: With a pool of tests and test results, you need to see the data by date, by test category, by individual test, and so on. Each view would be in its own HTML file. So, can you have a single template in XSLT 2.0 build multiple HTML files from the one input data set?
As a fundamental part of the Web, hypertext linking has been the subject of repeated attempts at standardization beyond the basic format allowed in simple HTML. Such attempts can be characterized as efforts to balance machine processing ability with authoring convenience. The latest specification in this area, XHTML 2.0, just might have gotten it right.
A common problem with XSLT is that it takes only a single XML file as input. You can use a cross-platform Java™ tool to create an XML directory listing, then use XSLT to process every file in the directory from that listing. This tip covers installation and use of such a tool, as well as the corresponding XSL that processes multiple files from the directory listing.
Configuration files are a problem for both operating systems and applications. Where do you keep them, how are they structured? Traditionally, Unix systems used text files with wildly varying internal structures, and Windows used either binary data or ".ini" text files (in this sense, "binary" is used for anything that you can't access directly with a simple text editor). More recently, Windows abandoned .ini files in favor of a binary central registry.
A number of markup technologies involve attaching behaviors to specific parts of a document. XML Events is a W3C Recommendation that allows declarative attachment of a behavior -- which can be a predefined bundle of actions defined in XML or a more general call to a scripting language -- to a specific element. This article gives an overview of how XML Events came about, what it's useful for, and how it works.
When producing software it is not considered good practice to write the same code over and over again. Not only is this inefficient when writing the code in the first place, it is also inefficient when the time comes to make changes as the same change has to be made to every copy of that code.
This tutorial is for developers who wish to know how to generate HTML documents using a combination of XML data and XSL stylesheets. It also includes examples of how to use XSL parameters and included stylesheets.
Many developers tend to think of Web services as a way to easily move information from one place to another, but it's also important to understand how integral a Web service can be to the overall application. This tip gives some examples of using XML for Short Message Service (SMS) messages. If you're familiar with SMS, you'll find out how adding this tool to your toolbox can help you; if you're not an SMS developer, you'll see a real-life example of how Web services are integrated into an application.
When designing XML and Web services schemata you will often (and ideally) reuse data elements defined in pre-existing standards. When you do, it is extremely useful to include links to such standards, providing precise data dictionary references. In so doing, you make processing and maintenance easier to automate. This tip illustrates this practice.