Building Web Sites with XML

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9780130866011: Building Web Sites with XML

Provides step-by-step instruction to enhancing Web or Internet sites using XML. Discusses client side and serverside, XSLT, DOM, Java-based servlets, active server pages, and schemas. Includes a complete XML-based Website to kickstart your site's development. Softcover. CD-ROM included. DLC: XML (Document markup language).

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap:

Preface

The time was early 1997, and the place was the Sixth International World Wide Web Conference. I was sitting at a courtyard table at the Santa Clara, California, conference trying to grab a free meal as journalists are known to do. Across from me was a product manager from a French-based company, Grif, extolling the marvels of a new markup language, XML.

It was, literally, a far cry from the Fifth International World Wide Web Conference I had attended a year earlier in Paris. Then, there was talk of putting full SGML on the Web. But there were enormous hurdles to overcome. SGML was too bloated with options for the Web. It sported features that had more to do with large-scale document management than individual Web page publishing. Worse, full SGML was very complex compared to HTML, which is just a single application of SGML. Let's face it, the reason for HTML's success is largely thought to be its simplicity.

In 1996, XML was a non-story. Yet, in one short year it had become one of the hottest topics within the Web community. As the Editor in Chief of Web Techniques magazine, I was attending this '97 conference with an eye toward securing an XML columnist for our monthly publication. Grif was one of the early companies involved in XML development and possessed the talent we were looking for. I didn't want a theorist. I was looking for a practitioner. Unfortunately, Grif was on XML's event horizon: a black hole sucking everything in its path. I would have to find my columnist elsewhere.

Little did I know at the time that within 12 months I would resign my post as the magazine's editor and become that columnist. Meeting Charles

Four months into the Beyond HTML column, I noted from a message in the newly-formed XML news group that Charles F. Goldfarb would be giving a talk at our local Computer Literacy book shop. Charles, the inventor of SGML, was out promoting his latest book, The XML Handbook. I decided that an interview with the father of markup languages would fit nicely into the column, so I contacted him to make the arrangements. He graciously accepted.

In preparing for the interview, I learned that it was he who coined the term "markup language." I also learned that in 1969 Charles, leading a small team at IBM, developed a language called GML (Charles is the "G" in GML). Of course, I knew he created SGML in 1974, but I also learned that he wrote the first SGML parser, ARCSGML. Charles also worked to turn SGML into the ISO 8879 standard, and he serves as its editor.

My interview with Charles was delightful. He was extremely approachable, and his answers were insightful. In querying him about document exchange versus data exchange, Charles responded that:

"These are all documents in the sense of the way that word is used in the dictionary. It's recognizing that XML is a data representation that has the characteristics of a document. That's where the real power comes in, because you can process it as data—you can parse it and extract the data—or you can present it the way you would a document. And you can do both of those in the same application at the same time. That's the real breakthrough."

Charles and I stayed in touch over the following months, and it wasn't long before he suggested that I write a book for his series. Needless to say, I was honored. During those months we tossed around several ideas. We knew that XML was quickly spreading beyond the confines of the Web. As such, XML's roots in Web development were being left behind. My background with Web Techniques set up the perfect match to write Building Web Sites with XML. So, with a nod of approval from Charles, my journey began. About the Journey

Building Web Sites with XML explores the technologies, tools, and most importantly, the techniques required to build cutting-edge Web sites using XML, Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL), and the Document Object Model (DOM). The book introduces XML concepts with expanded coverage of the latest XSL Transformation language, then shows Web designers, Web application developers, and Webmasters how they can use XML to enhance the look and feel, interoperability, operation, and maintenance of their Web sites. This is not a theoretical discussion of XML, nor is it a case study of someone else's project. This book presents hands-on techniques that Web developers can immediately use to enhance their Web sites. Most importantly, the book presents this information in a concise, straightforward manner that doesn't cloud the practical application of XML with esoteric theory. Goals for This Book

One of my goals in writing this book has been to recognize and address all Web developers—from authors and designers comfortable in the ways of HTML and JavaScript, to Web application developers using industrial strength languages like Java and C++. At the same time, it is not my intention to obscure important XML topics with esoteric programming details. Therefore, the primary language used in this book is JavaScript. This choice should make programming, particularly as it relates to the DOM, approachable to non-programmers while giving seasoned developers enough detail to apply XML to their discipline.

An additional goal of this book is to remain platform neutral. Therefore, you will find coverage of both Unix and Windows NT, Apache and Internet Information Server, Java Server Pages and Active Server Pages. Thus, you will be able to find hands-on information that you can apply to your existing arrangement, regardless of the platform, software, and tools you are using. One caveat, of course, is client-side processing. At the time of this writing, only Internet Explorer provides sufficient XML support to warrant coverage in this book. Therefore, this book uses Internet Explorer 5 solely for its browser platform. However, it shows how you can use server-side processing to process XML for display in any browser, no matter what its capabilities are.

Another goal is to provide all of the information you will need to create real-world XML applications. In particular, the first half of this book provides in-depth coverage of XML, the DOM, and XSL. Later parts of the book cover XML schemas and Document Type Definitions (DTDs). The book includes numerous tables for easy reference. So, while the focus of this book is on Web-based applications, you should find it to be a valuable resource in much of your XML-related development.

In addition, applications and examples are included to walk you step by step through the process of creating and processing XML. Examples show how you can transform and render XML using XSL, search and sort XML data, populate tables with XML data streams, create XML-based navigation schemes, and more. Unlike other books, the tools and techniques presented here cover both server- and client-side processing of XML data.

As a final goal, this book covers all of the tools you will need to create real-world XML applications. In particular, this book presents tools for Java servlet and CGI programmers, ASP developers, and JavaScript scripters. The book walks you through the steps of installing these tools on both the development and server platforms so that you can create your own development environment and build solutions for delivering XML. How to Use This Book

This book is organized into four parts. Part 1 covers general XML topics, including XSL, the DOM, and Web-based vocabularies, and gives a quick review of XML markup. Part 2 covers XML in the browser, while Part 3 presents solutions for delivering XML from the Web server. Part 4 covers extended topics such as XML Forms that should be of particular interest to Web developers, and it builds on all of the concepts presented through the book to build a complete Web site based on XML.

You can, of course, read the book from cover to cover. In fact, I recommend that you skim all of the chapters in order at least once. If you are new to XML, you will want to read Part 1 carefully before jumping to either Part 2 or Part 3. Chapter 1 is designed to orient you to XML by describing how XML came about and the reasons for its importance, and suggesting possible applications of the technology. The chapter also introduces technologies such as DTDs, XSL, and the DOM, and it describes XML's relationship with HTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).

Chapter 2 introduces the structured document and provides a quick tour of XML markup to get you started. Note that Chapter 2 is not an intensive tutorial on XML—you can get that from one of the introductory books on the topic. Rather, this chapter is designed to get you up to speed quickly so you can begin real-world XML development as soon as possible.

A key chapter in this book, Chapter 3, introduces XSL and its associated transformation language, XSLT. XSLT is a primary means for accessing and processing XML elements. Many of the techniques presented throughout the rest of the book hinge on concepts presented in this chapter. Therefore, you will want to read this chapter carefully and refer back to it often.

F

From the Back Cover:

  • Enhance your Web and Intranet sites with XML right now
  • Step-by-step examples, hands-on techniques, tested code!
  • Client-side and server-side: XSLT, DOM, Java™-based servlets, Active Server Pages, schemas, and more
  • CD-ROM: Includes a complete XML-based Web site to kickstart your site's development

Building Web Sites with XML

"XML's powerful support for data aggregation and smart data-driven styling will make it the Web developer's most useful tool. Michael Floyd's book teaches you to wield it like a master." Charles F. Goldfarb

Build cutting-edge dynamic and interactive Web sites with XML-step by step!

Building Web Sites with XML walks you step by step through enhancing your Web or Intranet site using XML! Leading Web developer Michael Floyd helps you apply the XML technologies you need to know, including the XML Document Object Model, XML schemas, and XSL Transformations (XSLT).

If you know basic XML and you're ready to leverage its full power on your Web, Intranet, and e-commerce sites, you're ready for the book that will show you how: Building Web Sites with XML.

You'll find practical techniques and real-world sample code for:

  • Building dynamic sites customized to your users' browsers and preferences
  • Serving XML using CGI, Java™-based servlets, and Active Server Pages
  • Enhancing site appearance, interoperability, and maintainability with XML
  • Client-side and server-side processing-with guidance on when to use each
  • Working with specialized Web vocabularies: VML, XHTML, SMIL, CDF, RDF, and more
  • Using XML with databases: SQL queries, data transformations, and XML-enabled shopping carts
  • Displaying XML in any browser-even legacy browsers

CD-ROM INCLUDED

The CD-ROM includes a complete XML-based Web site to kickstart your site's development.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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