XML : A Primer

XML : A Primer

by Simon St. Laurent

Paperback(Older Edition)

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Completely revised and updated to cover the latest in emerging Internet technologies, this practical guide will teach you how to build smarter Web sites using XML (eXtensible Markup Language). Whether you're porting data-driven applications or searching for a better way to manage documents on your site, XML: A Primer, Second Edition will get you quickly up to speed on this next-generation authoring tool. With new visual examples, clear explanations, and a splash of humor, author Simon St.Laurent shows you how to harness XML's power and flexibility to create intelligent, efficient, easily managed sites. Simon St.Laurent's lucid primer shows you how to:

  • Create custom tags and Document Type Definitions (DTDs)
  • Design and manage well-formed documents
  • Explore the emerging XLink proposals for linking pages
  • Learn about W3C's conversion of HTML into XML modules
  • Use XML for literate programming and metadata applications
  • Build a customizable online catalog
  • Integrate XML with the latest CSS2 specifications and Dynamic HTML

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780764533105
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 10/05/1999
Edition description: Older Edition
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 5.66(w) x 8.48(h) x 0.97(d)

About the Author

SIMON ST.LAURENT is an experienced Web developer and network specialist whose clients range from small start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations. The author of Dynamic HTML: A Primer and Building XML Applications, he is also the XML editor for the National Association of Webmasters.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Let Data Be Data

XML promises to transform the basic structure of the Web, moving beyond HTML and replacing it with a stronger, more extensible architecture. It promises to return the Web to content-based structures instead of the format-based structures imposed by designers frustrated by the immaturity of Web-design tools. It may also free the Web from the tyranny of browser developers by ending their monopoly on element development and implementation. At the same time, XML promises application developers, whether or not they work on the Web, an extremely convenient format for storing many different kinds of information.

The World Wide Web Consortium - or W3C - at (http : / / www.w3. org) moved far ahead of the commercial browser developers with a very promising new approach to markup. XML, the Extensible Markup Language, makes it possible for developers to create their own mutually interoperable dialects of markup languages, including but not limited to HTML. The use of XML might bring about a cease-fire in the browser wars between Netscape and Microsoft as added features shift to a component model rather than a single bloated program, and may even encourage the appearance of new browsing technologies. More immediately, it allows developers to create markup structures based on logical content rather than formatting. This will make it easier for humans and computers to search for specific content-based information within a document instead of just searching the entire text of a page. XML, in concert with style technologies, will allow authors to create beautiful pages that are easily managed, and give developers a new level of control over their information combined with enormous flexibility.

The WYSIWYG Disaster

The first word processor I used was a very simple text editor. I thought it was really amazing how the screen could move around my cursor point to make my 40-column screen display most of an 80-column page, but for the most part it was only good for doing homework and writing other similarly boring documents that I printed out on my lovely dot-matrix printer. After working with computers for a few years, programming them and cursing them, I gave up and bought an electric typewriter. It let me do some pretty fancy things, like underline text without having to enter bizarre escape codes. There wasn't a good way to type boldface text, but I didn't have to worry about wasting acres of paper because of a typo in a strange code. The typewriter gave me what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) in a classical ink-on-paper kind of way. I stuck with my typewriter for a couple of years until I discovered the Macintosh. I hated the Mac when it first came out, because every magazine I got covered an expensive machine I didn't own. It didn't even have a decent programming package. But when I encountered the Mac again about four years later, I was thrilled. It was actually fun to write papers, because I could toggle all the style information, write in multiple columns, and even use 72-point type once in a while. It didn't look very good on my ImageWriter, but it was pretty amazing compared to my old dot-matrix computer text. I turned in papers with headlines, bibliographies that used proper italics, multiple columns, and even a picture or two. Writing wasn't just about spewing out sentences anymore. I could create headlines, subheads, tables, footnotes, and use all kinds of other formatting to give even a short paper a set of structures that made it look smart...

Table of Contents



Introduction to the Second Edition.

Introduction to the First Edition.

Chapter 1: Let Data Be Data.

Chapter 2: Separating Content from Presentation: Markup and Styles.

Chapter 3: Simple XML: Building Structures.

Chapter 4: Plan in the Present, Save in the Future.

Chapter 5: Mortar and Bricks: Document Type Definitions.

Chapter 6: Re-creating Web and Paper Documents with XML.

Chapter 7: XML for Commerce.

Chapter 8: XML for Document Management.

Chapter 9: XML for Data-Driven Applications.

Chapter 10: The XPointer Specification.

Chapter 11: The XLink Specification.

Chapter 12: Processing XML: Repositories, Processors, and Gateways.

Chapter 13: XML and the Future: XML's Impact on Ever-Expanding Webs.



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