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Real World XML - Part 3 of 12

Important XML technologies By Joe Marini

The first technology we'll look at and talk about is XPath. Now Extensible Path Language is what XPath stands for and it's used to extract data from inside an XML file. It uses a path-like syntax similar to directory or folder paths.

If you are not familiar XPath, we cover it a little bit in the XML Essential Training title. So you might want to refer to that title to get familiar with it. XSLT is also another XML based language for defining style sheets.

As I mentioned earlier, it's a styling language that takes an XML file and transforms it into something else, like HTML or PDF or some other file format. We talked a little bit about SAX and DOM. These are methods of processing data and Schema. Schema is a way of expressing rules for a given XML syntax.

Now you may be already familiar with Document Type Definitions. You can think of Schema as the next step beyond DTDs. They define things like what tags are or are not allowed and where they can go, what kinds of data they contain, so on and so forth.


In this title we'll take a look at some formats like RSS, which stands for Really Simple Syndication. This provides data in discrete chunks that can be read individually. You have probably seen this in blogs or news sites or other syndicated content. If you own a TiVo, for example, the TiVo actually makes the items that are recorded on your TiVo available as an RSS file.

So ATOM is another format for syndicating content and like RSS, it provides content in a richer syndicated fashion. It was adopted back in 2005 and we'll take a deeper look at the ATOM format in this course.

There is also better support for XML built into the browsers.

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Modern browsers, like Internet Explorer 7 and higher and 3 and higher for Firefox, provide really good support for technologies like the DOM and XPath and XSLT and some newer things like serialization and parsing. We'll get into that later when we get to the chapter on XML and the browsers.

Okay, so now that we have seen what important technologies there are in the XML world today and we have seen the XML landscape and how XML is used, let's get started and take a look at some real-world XML formats.

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Joe Marini is the director for Microsoft's Visual Studio Industry Partner program, and has been active in the Web and graphics industries for more than 15 years. He was an original member of the Dreamweaver engineering team at Macromedia, and has also held prominent roles in creating products such as QuarkXPress, mFactory's mTropolis, and Extensis QX-Tools. He is regularly a featured speaker at industry conferences and has authored or co-authored several books on Web development. His book The Document Object Model is widely regarded as the definitive resource for working with the DOM.


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