Beginning XML - Part 1 (An Introduction)Written by Amrit Hallan
Coming straight to point, XML stands for EXtensible Markup Language. As name suggests, it is a language that can be molded according to need of hour. Personally, I don't think calling it a language is justified, but I fanatically follow ordinance of techie Gurus, and if they say it is a language, then it is a language.
As is case with famous HTML, XML too is a markup language, but its main power, unlike HTML, lies in ability to describe data without harassing over-worked server. Since most of work is done on client's machine (the person who is running browser), there is less strain on server.
It uses DTDs (Document Type Definitions) to properly define and organize data. But presence of DTDs is not mandatory, and their absence does not hinder performance of web page.
The most interesting thing I have found in XML is, tags are not pre-defined - you can create your own tags and use them as and when required. XML specifies neither semantics nor a tag set. In fact XML is really a meta-language for describing markup languages. In other words, XML provides a facility to define tags and structural relationships between them. Since there's no predefined tag set, there can't be any preconceived semantics. All of semantics of an XML document will either be defined by applications that process them or by style-sheets.
XML allows users to:
· bring multiple files together to form compound documents · identify where illustrations are to be incorporated into text files, and format used to encode each illustration · provide processing control information to supporting programs, such as document validators and browsers · add editorial comments to a file.
It is important to note, however, that XML is not:
· a predefined set of tags, of type defined for HTML, that can be used to markup documents · a standardized template for producing particular types of documents.
YOUR FIRST HTML PAGE - IWritten by Amrit Hallan
I often hear and read about various web authoring tools available that can help you create coolest web pages in a jiffy, for example, FrontPage2000, Dreanweaver, CoffeeCup etc. But let me tell you one thing, there is nothing like using a simple text editor for creating web pages, and believe me, you can come up with better pages through hand-coding.
Most of GUI-based web page authoring tools have their own fancy ways of generating HTML code, and by time they are through, you have a page three times size of what you would have had, had you simply written HTML commands. Mathematically, if you generate a page through FrontPage2000, for instance, and it's size is 30 units [bytes, kilobytes], you can have SAME look by hand-coding, and size will be 9-10 units. Yes, this is amount of junk code generated.
On Net, size does matter.
When for first time I saw source-code of an HTML page, I got so scared that I quickly closed window. Then gradually, my web developer friends talked me into learning ropes line by line, and within a week, I felt like an HTML dude. I'm not exaggerating. It really is so easy.
So if you are psychologically ready, and would like to give it a try, follow these steps and in about 10 minutes, you'll have your first [if you have never done it before] hand-coded HTML page. Don't get disheartened with look, I understand you could be used to fancy-frills of your tool. Just remember one thing, an HTML page is mostly made of tags. There is a beginning tag: , and an ending tag . Note forward slash in ending tag. In this first article, we'll be discussing basic tags. In proceeding articles, we'll go deeper and deeper.
Another thing before we progress: get hold of HomeSite, if you can. It's a very neat HTML coder - very humble. It let's you run amuck with your hand-coding, but now and then, provides help in form of drop-down menus, so that you do not have to memorize all those spooky options associated with HTML tags. It automatically pops out closing tag so you don't miss it. Check it out at http://www.allaire.com.