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XML Presentation
Rev. 1.01
XML Training Overview

This two-day module presents various techniques for presenting XML documents in a web browser. First, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS, mostly level 1, some level 2) are applied to XML documents directly. Then students learn some basic XPath and XSLT to make transformations to HTML in the browser. Simple XLinks are studied, with hands-on exercises, and extended XLinks are discussed and a non-working example is presented. Finally, students work with client-side scripting using JavaScript and the Document Object Model (DOM) to manipulate and enhance the XML document and presentation in the browser, and to respond to user events for a responsive graphical interface.

Note that this course does not cover CSS, XSLT, or the DOM in exhaustive detail. Students who already know CSS or DOM for use with HTML will get great leverage from this course. Those who do not know these technologies coming into the course will have no trouble learning them to the moderate depth presented here, and will be well prepared to pursue them in greater detail.

The module presents what might be called “Pure XML”, by which we mean two things. Firstly, everything in the module is based strictly on W3C specifications, without any vendor-specific extensions. Secondly, no knowledge of any particular programming language or other external technology is required to participate fully in the module. Thus the hands-on exercises, and the knowledge that is developed, are portable and applicable to any XML authoring or development effort.


XML Training LEARNING OBJECTIVES

  • Use cascading stylesheets to present XML documents directly in a web browser.
  • Use basic XPath and XSLT to transform XML documents into HTML for web presentation, with or without associated CSS.
  • Express relationships between XML documents using simple XLinks.
  • Understand the potential for extended XLinks in a document base or website.
  • Write scripts into an XML document that use the DOM to manipulate the document in the browser, to enhance its presentation or filter content.
  • Write scripts that handle browser-interpreted user events (such as a button click) to modify the XML document and presentation in the browser.
XML Training Prerequisites

Ability to read and to write well-formed XML.

XML Training Course duration

2 days

XML Training Course outline

1. Styling XML
 
XML and HTML
Cascading Style Sheets
Selectors and Properties
CSS Layout Model
CSS for HTML
CSS for XML
Limitations of CSS

2. XML-to-HTML Transformations
 
XSL and XSLT
XSLT on the Client
XSLT Output Formats
XPath
Structure of an XSLT Stylesheet
Literal Replacement Elements
Dynamic Content
Conditional Processing
Sorting and Filtering

3. Linking XML Documents
 
XLink
Elements as Links
Simple Links
Show and Actuate Attributes
XML Base
Extended Links
Link Sets and Linkbases
Local Resources
XPointer

4. Scripting Using the DOM
 
Client-Side Scripting
JavaScript (ECMAScript)
DOM for HTML
DOM for XML
Scripts in XML Documents
Parsing the XML Document
Modifying the XML Document
Responding to User Events

Learning Resources

Quick Reference: XPath and XSLT

System Requirements

Software for this course can be installed and run on Windows or Linux systems. A variety of command-line XML tools must be installed for parsing, transformation, and schema validation. These are all free downloadable tools and all can be installed and run on Windows or Linux. See the appropriate course Setup Guide for details. Note that presentation examples have only been successfully tested on Netscape 6; there are problems running on IE 6.

Hardware requirements are not great; a good minimal system for this course would have a Pentium 200MHz or equivalent CPU, 64 meg of RAM and at least 50 megabytes of free disk space for tools installation (and most of this is for the web browser).


 
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