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exploring XML - The Webmaster's Reference on XML: Free Tutorials, Tools, Standards Talk, and Product Reviews - www.exploringxml.com

The Webmaster's Reference on XML

Reference
< What's New on XPLORING XML>

[82] Exploring XML and RSS in Flash
In this article we will examine the XML processing capabilities of Macromedia Flash, and create an RSS "movie" along the lines of the wildly popular RSS applet.

[81] XML Features of Oracle 8i and 9i
XML and relational databases are both technologies for structuring, cataloguing and processing data. If data has a regular and atomic structure, it is more appropriate and efficient to use a database than XML. In this case, why would you wish to go to the trouble of converting such data from a database into XML and vice versa? Reasons include...

[80] XMLMap on Computing
In this installment we will extend our XMLMap into the computing territory. While XML started out as a format for end user documents, its platform independence and low computing requirements made it move into device and service configurations.

[79] Book Review: "Web Services: A Technical Introduction"
Now that Web services passed the peak of the hype curve and have moved into productive use, Prentice Hall's Deitel Developer Series provides a technical introduction to Web services that is packed with information on business models, vendors and products as well as base technology.

[78] CeBIT Special Report
Europe's most important exhibition for computer electronics, CeBIT, took place from March 12 to 19 in Hannover, Germany. We interrupt the current XML programme for a look at the state of affairs at the European Information Technology and Telecommunications Industries.

[77] What's in a topic map?
In our last extension of the XMLMap we closed with a discussion of ontologies and topic maps, both concepts for expressing semantics of resources. I received many questions on the rather abstract nature of these concepts, as well as their practical applications and implications. This installment tries to explain topic maps.

[76] Yet another Java XML API: xmlpull
XML processing is moving into the non-PC space, with PDAs and mobile phones acting as Web services clients and synchronizing their content with desktops via SyncML. Conserving heap and stack memory is a key requirement in this environment. With xmlpull, a new API has been devised for parsing XML.

[75] More XMLMap: XML about Content
Continuing our charting of the XMLMap we examine the use of XML as a content description and content transfer format. Discussions about tagging documents with meta data and publishing documents to Web servers conincided with the development of XML, and created first ideas on how to use XML in or with non-XML data.

[74] Book Review: "Practical XML for the Web"
Last month young publisher glasshaus released "Practical XML for the Web", a book "for Web professionals of all levels who want to know how XML can be put to great practical use in their work today." I was already pleasantly surprised when the package arrived....

[73] Extending XMLMap: XML for Presentation Purposes
In this installment we will extend our XMLMap with XML standards for documents, particularly those concerned with presenting information to users. While the main difference between XML and HTML is that XML contains no presentation information, one of the first applications of XML was in the presentation field...

[72] Safer XML
Security is a popular subject in these times, both in the personal and global context. While computer security concepts in general are old hats since the 80's, it seems that everything needs to be reinvented for XML, or at least with XML, including security.

[71] Under the Christmas Tree: New XML Books
Just in time for Christmas shopping, two new good XML books have been published: "Practical XML for the Web" by glasshaus, and "Java Web Services for Experienced Programmers" from Prentice Hall. Take a sneak preview!

[70] Charting the XML territory with XMLMap
After three years of exploring the XML jungle, the time has come to add another type of map to this area. While the Column Trailmap gives an overview of the columns written for the XML section of WebReference, we will over the next couple of installments create a map of XML standards.

[69] Declaring Web applications with AppML
Writing Web applications is a lot of work. Along the lines of XUL for user interfaces, fellow XML site author Jan Egil Refsnes has developed an XML vocabulary for defining whole Web applications: Application Markup Language (AppML).

[68] dtddoc step 4: Generating HTML
In this last installment of our mini-series on documenting DTDs we finish our dtddoc tool by generating the HTML pages out of the parsed DTD and its annotations. This is the fourth and final step...

Updated and Revised: The Column TrailMap ™
Couldn't find the article again that you've just read the other day? Looking for related columns? Try the freshly updated and revised TrailMap ™ to gain a better overview of this ever-expanding column, while we are mapping out new areas of the XML jungle.

[67] dtddoc step 3: Element and attribute descriptions
In this installment we are going to look at ways to add extra information to the elements and attributes of a DTD. This extra information shall then be used by our new tool dtddoc.

[66] dtddoc step 2: Internal data structures
After parsing XML DTDs with four different software packages, we will look at the resulting data structures in Java, Perl, and PHP, respectively.

[65] dtddoc step 1: Parsing a DTD
Now that we have looked at the to my knowledge only tool for documenting DTDs, let's get started with our own development effort dtddoc.

[64] Documenting DTDs I: dtd2html
Documenting one's deeds is usually not high priority for developers, and Web developers are no exception. Alas, once you have to look again at stuff you've done weeks or months ago, the usefulness of documentation becomes apparent.

< Past Columns >

[63] Re-framing content with XFrames
While whole countries go on vacation in August, the W3C churns out one candidate specification after the next. Determined to fix the problems that HTML accumulated over its ten years of development, the frameset feature is under review.

[62] XHTML 2.0 Drafted
On the fifth of August the W3C released the first public draft of XHTML 2.0. A first peek reveals a couple of changes as well as one major new feature. Let's look at them in turn.

[61] Data Types Undefined in XML Schema?
The XML Schema Working Group was tasked with adding the two most important pieces to the XML puzzle: Schema Definitions and a Data Type Libary. Criticism rises now as more and more people work with the resulting specifications, including XML Schema part 2: Datatypes.

[60] Introduction to RELAX NG
In the last installment we discussed the different approaches to schema definition put forward by the W3C and OASIS. More specifically, we followed the criticism surrounding XML Schema, and looked at some improvements offered in the alternative, RELAX NG. Today we'll explain the basics of RELAX NG by example.

[59] Schema Wars: XML Schema vs. RELAX NG
Lately some controversy has arisen in the XML community about what is the most appropriate tool to supercede the dreaded DTDs: XML Schema or RELAX NG? The IETF is creating an RFC on the use of XML, and the topic of specifying schemas is one point of contention.

[58] XML in Mozilla 1.0
The long-awaited release of Mozilla 1.0 finally arrived this month, after a staggering three year development process. Standards compliance has always been an important goal in Mozilla, and manyfold XML standards have found their way into the product.

[57] Google SVG Search III
Wrapping up our Google API project, we finally convert the Perl script into a CGI and decorate the SVG output with a bit of HTML.

[56] Google SVG Search II
This week we will we will continue to make use of our previously acquired knowledge of the Google Web Services API and SVG. Now that we have the SOAP functionality in place, we need to turn towards the SVG end of the application.

[55] Google SVG Search I
In the next couple of installments we will make use of our previously acquired knowledge on the Google Web Services API and SVG in order to produce a CGI that graphically presents the search engine results returned by Google. Let's put Web Services to work!

[54] Web Services at Work: Google Web APIs
A lot of hype is buzzing around Web Services these days. New acronyms are appearing every day and protocols and tools are implemented at break-neck speed; but not many real applications are publicly available up to now. Google makes the leap now.

[53] MRMLMoz: Mind Reading ML in Mozilla
Mozilla is quickly nearing its version 1.0 release. Sources close to the inner development circles hint at implementation problems and question the targeted delivery date. Allegedly, AOL, in its attempt to replace Internet Explorer with Mozilla as its prefered browser, has requested an implementation of Mind Reading ML...

New Books arrived!
The books section is now powered by Amazon, and while reworking the page I updated the content with new books and editions.

[52] Generating Web content with Cocoon
The Apache project is well-known for the Web server software it produces that is carrying its name. In the past, many other interesting software projects were also started there, mainly in the Java and XML space. Cocoon is one of them.

[51] SVG: Modularized and mobile
Mid-February the W3C released last call drafts of SVG 1.1 and SVG Mobile. SVG 1.1 is a modularized form of SVG 1.0, specified in W3C XML Schema rather than DTDs. By dividing up the functionality of SVG into modules, it facilitates the production of SVG profiles. Mobile SVG creates two such profiles...

Comment on column 42
Alert reader Alastair Hamilton sent in a code snippet for determining which version of the Microsoft XML parser is loaded. Thank you!

[50] What Web Services Are NOT
To help us unravel the hype, we welcome guest author Sriram Rajaraman, the VP of Engineering at Instantis, who will help us understand what Web services are by explaining what he believes they are not.

Comment on column 48
Craig Erickson of Flo Technologies, LLC, a company offering BizTalk training and consulting services, has some first hand experience to share, published with permission.

[49] SVG - Open for Business
Scalable Vector Graphics are the prime technology for presentations and business charts. Pie charts, bar graphs, animated or static, values manipulated by the user or static, SVG can do all.

[48] BizTalk: E-Commerce the Microsoft Way II
While we focused on the framework in our last installment, we are going to examine the BizTalk server and Web site now.

[47] BizTalk: E-Commerce the Microsoft Way I
While the non-profit sponsors of ebXML aim for the high grounds of world-wide electronic commerce, Microsoft enters the same field with what it does best: delivering a framework with attached software, in this case BizTalk.

Comment on column 46
Lisa J. Carnahan, of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and past chair of the OASIS Registry Technical Commitee, points out a misconception on my part concerning the relation of ebXML registries and UDDI registries.

[46] ebXML: Global Standard for Electronic Business?
Merry Christmas! After eating loads of cookies and examining the basic blocks of electronic business, what else is missing? A whole lot more is incorporated into Electronic Business XML, ebXML for short.

[45] Business basics: A Common Business Language
Continuing our tour on XML for business, we examine the heritage of the newly to-be-developed Universal Business Language, the XML Common Business Library, xCBL.

[44] UBL: Yet another business language?
Starting a new thread on XML for business, let me introduce yet another XML vocabulary for business terms, the Universal Business Language (UBL). After several interest groups have pushed their definitions, through the respective implementation in their products, we ended up with a handful of partly incompatible, partly duplicated XML definitions. OASIS, the international consortium that develops XML-based industry specifications, has now commissioned Jon Bosak, the key person behind XML 1.0 at the W3C, to clear up the current state of confusion with UBL.

[43] Living documents with XML events
Most documents today are living documents in the sense that they are constantly updated and never finished. With the advent of HTML and Web browsers documents became also living in that they can interactively respond to events. Now this kind of life comes to XML documents with the newly standardized XML event handling...

[42] Microsoft XML parser version 4 released
Adding to the already existing confusion surrounding MSXML versions, Microsoft released number four of what is now called Microsoft XML Core Services. While innovation is a good thing, the growing number of different levels of XML support on Microsoft platforms is worrysome. But the good news first, the new version has a number of improvements compared to MSXML 3.0.

[41] XML Import/Export for the Masses
Most data is still created and consumed by humans, and XML is no exception. Adoption of XML therefore depends largely on the availability of tools for reading, writing and editing XML data. While we looked at dedicated XML editors some time ago, little is available for word processors like Microsoft Word. Recently two new tools, albeit commercial, came to the rescue...

[40] Easy Web Content Management with XMLcmNOW
XMLcmNOW is a content management system based on XML and XSLT technology. It makes maintaining Web pages easy, simplifying the mundane tasks like editing HTML and uploading via FTP. All that is needed...

[39] RSS without limits: JERSS
Introducing JERSS, a Java servlet for fetching RSS files and handing them over to the Web browser in the form of Javascript data structures. Based on the Code of RSSApplet, JERSS is...

[38] Smart Tags: Dumb Technology?
With the introduction of smart tags in Microsoft Office XP, you can enhance hyperlinking by associating text with not only multiple resources but also information provided by custom applications as well. Or so they say.

[37] Dynamic Web Sites with XML, XSLT and JSP
In this article we introduce a method that eases the burden of providing dynamic data and integrating it in your Web site.

[36] Xparse-J Update 1.1
Xparse-J grew out of the need for the smallest possible XML parser. While the parser works great when parsing, accessing the parsed data afterwards was not easy. This has been improved.

[35] Converting DTDs to XML Schemas
In the last installment of this column I described a neat tool, dtd2xsd, to convert Document Type Definitions to XML Schema. Let's put dtd2xsd to work.

[34] From DTDs to XML Schemas
XML Schemas are the preferred way of specifying XML content models these days. Schemas are more expressive than DTDs, but how do you upgrade your self-defined DTDs? A tool provided by the W3C helps along the way.

[33] The Voice of XML
VoiceXML, an XML vocabulary for specifying IVR (Integrated Voice Response) Systems was submitted to the W3C more than one year ago. Initially it received little attention but now with more services providing developer platforms for such applications the interest level has risen dramatically in the last couple of months. Let's start a quick dialog.

[32] Project JXTA: An Open, Peer-to-Peer Collaboration Platform using Java and XML
Interest in peer-to-peer (P2P) technology is growing rapidly, as shown by the popularity of services such as Napster and Gnutella. Sun Microsystems started a project called JXTA to examine the potential of a generic P2P platform, which is described here.

[31] XSL to XSLT Converter
Microsoft recently released an XSLT style sheet that updates Internet Explorer 5 XSL style sheets to XSLT-compliant style sheets. Use this tool to take advantage of the new XSLT features included in the latest MSXML release.

[30] XHTML 1.1 - Module-based XHTML
On April 6 XHTML 1.1 became a W3C Proposed Recommendation. XHTML is a reformulation of HTML 4 in XML, and version 1.1 is a refinement of the strict variant of XHTML 1.0. Let's look at the refinements.

RSSApplet User Documentation
Finally everything you wanted to know but dared to ask about the infamous RSS Viewer Applet. See the complete user documentation...

New XHTML Reference
I extended the reference section, this time with some handy information on XHTML and XML character entities.

Wrox Survey closed!
The five books are on their way to the winners, and the survey results evaluated. Thank you very much for participating! I'll try to tailor my column accordingly.

[29] Online Training for XML
The Web is used for many purposes these days, and educational training is no exception. The first courses on XML started appearing on the Web, and I took a look at some of them to see what they could teach me.

XML Reference Page
Since WebReference has reference in the name, here come some references in the context of XML: First is an annotated list of XML standards most relevant to webmasters.

Read free sample chapters and win books from Wrox Press!
Wrox Press was so kind to provide free sample chapters of their most popular books on XML. Come and see for free whether these books could be missing on your shelf. Answer a short survey and with a bit of luck win one of five copies of "Professional XML Databases", courtesy of Wrox Press!

[28] RSS Applet Configurator
The RSSApplet developed in this column offers an easy way to display RSS news on your own Web site. With the configurator tool it becomes even easier to get WebReference headlines onto your site, introduced and explained in this installment.

Xparse-J User Documentation
Need a small XML parser to embed in your Java applet? Have a look at Xparse-J, the smallest Java parser on the planet. Now with complete user documentation...

[27] XML and Java for E-Business
Happy New Millenium! Back on the manager track we examine the role of XML and Java in the implementation of E-Business applications. Java Application Servers with integrated XML processing are a powerful development environment for this class of programs...

[26] Tools Update: RSSApplet and Xparse-J
Web masters need tools for many technologies , and XML is no exception. The venerable RSSViewerApplet had a few problems and limitations that have been removed in the newly released version 1.2. And the underlying XML parser is now separately available...

[25] JDOM, The Java DOM
The Document Object Model (DOM) is a popular, standardized way of manipulating XML data. Java developers might prefer a more Java-oriented API for reading and writing XML Documents in the future, JDOM.

[24] Dublin Core - Tagging the Web for better search and retrieval
The Web is a vast, but rather unstructured resource for information of any kind. While the lack of structure allowed for such a tremendous growth in the first place, it has recently turned more and more into a problem when trying to research specific topics and find relevant documents. DC Metadata Element Set comes to the rescue.

[23] Dynamically generating HTML pages with XMLC
XMLC provides an object-oriented mechanism for creating dynamic content from static HTML and XML documents. XMLC converts a HTML or XML document to a Java class. The compiled pages are represented using the DOM (Document Object Model). Learn about a better way to dynamically create HTML.

[22] XML Parser Comparison
In order to process XML data every program or server process needs an XML parser. Let's look at the candidates and compare the most popular XML parsers.

[21] XML Schemas
Now that the XML Schema specification is one step away from becoming a W3C Recommendation, it is a good time to take a closer look at the new improved way to declare document type definitions.

[20] The crux of client-side XML processing (IE5)
Had you tried to use the RSS2HTML stylesheet of column16 in Internet Explorer, you would have quickly noticed that it does not work in most versions of this browser. Let's fix this...

[19] XML - what for?
This might be a silly question to ask after writing 18 columns on the topic, but there are indeed many more applications of XML beyond what we looked at so far. Other applications for XML are...

[18] An XML toolkit for Web servers
A lot of software is available today for processing XML data. And most of it is free of charge. This article describes an easy way to XML-enable your Web server.

[17] Inside XSL-T
Now that we have had so many columns with XSL examples and so few about XSL, it seems like a good idea to study XSL in more detail. XSL comes out to be a very generic mechanism for transforming document trees, at least the paperless ones...

[16] Transforming RSS into HTML and WAP (2)
Continuing from where we left off with the last column, we turn to two major aspects of XSL style sheets, parameterization of the formatting process, and creation of different output formats from the same input source. Full Transformation ahead!

[15] Transforming RSS into HTML and WAP (1)
Having examined XSL, WAP and RSS in great detail in past columns, it is time to combine all that knowledge into a useful application: Rendering RSS channels in various formats with the help of XSL style sheets. Three acronyms in the headline alone might not look like easy reading, but when you have read past columns you'll be in good shape for the things ahead.

[14] Registering and publishing with RSS
Now that you have created and published the RSS file for your own Web site, you are ready to let the world know about your exciting new offering. While the good old methods of word of mouth and email signatures still work wonders, the most promising approach is to register your RSS file with one of the news sites.

[13] Creating RSS files for your Web site
Recently I have received more and more questions about the Rich Site Summary (RSS) format and its use for Web masters. The short answer is that RSS is a great way for any Web site to advertise their content in an always up-to-date fashion. In order to reap the benefits of RSS, read on here.

[12] WAP: The Web for Cellphones and PDAs
Back from Australia where WAP is already well-entrenched we take a high-level look at the wireless world and how it compares and connects to the Web we know so well. Let's examine the Web on Aethernet.

[11] SAX and DOM and Rock'n Roll
Life is a Diet when you are an Applet. Many readers complained that my RSS applet would be nice (once they changed the colors ;-)) but it being too fat. So we will put it on a diet to lose half its weight, and discuss different XML processing styles along the way in the slim-fast version of RSSViewerApplet.

[10] The Meanings of XML: DTDs, DCDs and Schemas
So far in this column we ignored the more formal aspects of XML, such as defining the correct syntax and semantics of specific documents. Let us change this and delve into the thicket of XML data and structure definitions.

[9] RSS Viewer Applet: Ready to Rumble
By popular demand I brushed up the applet from column 7 and released it under the GNU Public License (GPL). Have a look at the ready-to-rumble version of RSSViewerApplet.

[8a] Editing XML, Addendum: More Meat
The list of editing programs I had overlooked in my first article on XML editors grew and grew. I did not expect my list to be complete, so, here we go with the first addendum. Thanks to all who sent me feedback.

[8] Editing XML: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
XML poses many challenges to its adopters. It already starts with one of the most fundamental questions: How do I edit XML documents safely and comfortably? We have some possible answers for you.

[7] RSS Viewer Applet: Window to the World of News
Coming back to this episode's main topic of "News on the Web" we will develop an applet for viewing and navigating RSS channels. Let's put our newfound knowledge from the former article on news formats to good use and create a useful tool for every Web site.

[6] XHTML 1.0: Where XML and HTML meet
HTML has now been reformulated in XML. Many new non-PC devices will surf the Web soon, or are already doing it. Make your site available to them by migrating your site to XHTML.

[5] Weaving the Web of News
Many XML formats deal with describing, containing and transporting news overthe Internet. Make your site more attractive by tapping the wealth of free online news.

[4] Reference to XML in Opera
Our attentive reader Stephan Litke pointed out that there is an article on XML in Opera on the Web. Thanks, Stephan, for submitting the link via our feedback form!

[4] The Browser War continued: XML support in IE and Mozilla
Now that we examined in great detail the wonders that XML can do on the server, it is now time to look at the leading browsers and evaluate their capabilities in regard to XML. Let the client do most of the rendering work.

[3] XML HierMenus: When XML and DHTML unite...
... to form the Web's new Dream Team! We put our brand new knowledge from the first XML tutorial and the XSL and X-Link standards article to work, and render a collection of Web links in both plain HTML and as a DHTML Hierarchical Menu, compliments of my fellow colleague columnist Peter Belesis. See how it all works.

[2] The Foundation: XML, XSL, X-Link
Now that we got our feet wet with the introductory article on XML, let's start looking at its manifold applications. Many organizations and individuals already use XML to their advantage. Do you, too? Find out more about the foundation XML standards.

[1] XML - the better HTML?
Kicking off a new column on XML at webreference.com, let's have a closer look at the relation between XML and HTML. Why XML represents the next level of Web publishing.

A big thank you for all the feedback !
Thank you all for taking the time to read my column, and especially thanks to those of you who sent me feedback on my first article, whether it were suggestions, corrections, questions, encouragement, or gripes. You help me a great deal to keep on track, and you constantly remind me that I write for you in the first place, and then for my own pleasure. Not vice versa. So please keep it up, and to those of who you sent me questions and still got no answer: Don't despair, I am digging myself out of the pile of feedback a little more every day. You will get an answer, you deserve it. I hope it will be a useful one.... I will do my best.
Michael

Welcome to XPLORING XML on webreference.com!

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Michael, XML explorer

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Produced by Michael Claßen

URL: http://www.webreference.com/xml/index.html
Created: Nov 20, 1999
Revised: Oct 28, 2002