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XML Assignment Redux

July 26, 2010
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Just a quick note to follow up on the week 12 assignment; three students were successful in creating a working XSLT document to render the XML as an HTML table. However, all three got only 60% of the EC for not rendering the document in the same style as the student site. Still, I was pleased and gratified to see 30% of the class give it a try. I personally find XSLT a pain to work with and would rather use JavaScript to query XML and PHP to render HTML (this is the foundation of AJAX methods: using the appropriate language for the task in a blend where they all coexist and sing folk songs around the tekno-campfire).

Some common mistakes for this week involved subtle misspellings of the defined elements in the DTD compared to those used in the actual XML document. For example: one students created <fav_books> as the root element in the DTD then used <fav_book> in the document. XML is picky and this is a clear demonstration of that pickiness. I saw several instances where the student declared attributes or elements as required and then didn’t use those declared entities in the XML document itself.

Lastly, the idea of the “Valid XML Name” came up in the work of more than one student. To jog the memory: this is the rule set for creating elements or attributes in any kind of XML (including XHTML); can’t use a number or the letter “x” to start the XML Name, and there can’t be spaces (why we often use the _ underscore to create readable XML tags) . This is what causes the “single token” error when validating.

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