TweetFollow Us on Twitter

May 00 Online

Volume Number: 16 (2000)
Issue Number: 5
Column Tag: MacTech Online

May 00 Online

By Jeff Clites <online@mactech.com>

A few months ago, we briefly touched on the subject of XML, the biggest hype magnet since Java. A quick glance at any IT-related publication or website will give you a pretty good idea of the degree of interest there is in anything related to XML, and companies are churning out press releases about their plans to utilize XML faster than the press can cover them. XML isn't the Next Big Thing, it's the Current Big Thing. No matter where you stand on the hype-versus-substance issue, as a developer you'll need a working understanding of the technology to meet the demands of new standards and new modes of application interoperability. Beneath the static there is great potential in XML, and everyone will benefit from the attention it is drawing to issues surrounding communication and standardization. This month we'll cover a few of the resources you can turn to when working with this rapidly growing technology.

Documentation

Although there are many choices available, it is difficult to find the perfect printed reference; many of the obvious choices turn out not to be very good, and the field is evolving so rapidly that even the high-quality books quickly become out-of-date. For the moment, though, there are a couple of winners. The XML Pocket Reference, from O'Reilly and Associates, serves as both a beginner's introduction and a quick reference. For an extensive survey of current (and developing) technologies and APIs, try Professional XML from Wrox Press.

XML Pocket Reference
<http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/xmlpr/>

Professional XML
<http://www.wrox.com/Consumer/Store/Details.asp?ISBN=1861003110>

There is also no end to web-based coverage. An indispensable source is the XML FAQ, which covers a wide range of topics, and is well written. At the other end of the difficulty spectrum is the XML specification itself. Although you'll want to avoid it as long as possible, at some point you'll need to go back to the source to get the definitive word on something. It's a difficult read, but there is a cleverly-constructed annotated version available, which makes deciphering the formal language a bit easier. This latter reference is provided by XML.com, which is an excellent source of references and ongoing coverage of the industry, with timely articles on emerging technologies. Next, the XML Cover Pages are an exhaustive and neutral reference for all things XML (and SGML) related. Also of general interest is the original "mission statement" of the XML standard, which sets forth the design goals for its development. Finally, those planning on developing or working with XML parsers should take a look at the Lark parser, developed by Tim Bray, co-editor of the XML specification. It does not appear to be under active development, but it does provide an interesting case study in parser development in Java.

The XML FAQ
<http://www.ucc.ie/xml/>

The Annotated XML Specification
<http://www.xml.com/pub/axml/axmlintro.html>

XML.com
<http://www.xml.com/pub>

The XML Cover Pages
<http://www.oasis-open.org/cover/xml.html>

Design Principles for XML
<http://www.textuality.com/sgml-erb/dd-1996-0001.html>

An Introduction to XML Processing with Lark and Larval
<http://www.textuality.com/Lark/>

Programming XML

XML was designed to be easy to parse, and XML documents are often characterized as self-describing, but if you need to develop an XML-processing application you'll quickly find out that this is nonetheless not a trivial job. Fortunately, there are a number of parsers out there to help you with this task, and simple XML documents can in fact be created and parsed simply. One of the first XML parsers, and perhaps the most widely used, is James Clark's expat. It's a non-validating parser written in C, and recently an Objective C wrapper has been created for it, so it should be straightforward to use it from within Cocoa applications. (I believe that expat is also being used internally within Mac OS X, but it isn't clear what sort of API Apple will provide to access it.) Moving forward, it is likely that the Xerces parsers, which are part of the Apache XML project, will be widely used. They are validating parsers, and are available in Java, C++, and Perl. Much of their code originated from IBM's alphaWorks project, and IBM continues to provide its own versions, XML4J and XML4C for the Java and C++ versions respectively, which combine Xerces with their own Unicode classes, providing support for an expanded range of encodings. Apple is in fact using XML4J in their recently-released version 4.5 of WebObjects, and again it isn't clear to what extent the parser will be accessible from other parts of Apple's frameworks. Xerces-C contains a fair amount of code which must be customized when porting it to new platforms, but a classic Mac OS port has been developed, and a BSD version is in development which is likely to compile under Mac OS X. Also of note is the gnome-xml parser, which is under active development. It falls under the umbrella of the Linux Gnome project, but it is independent of the rest of Gnome and should be portable to other environments and platforms. (For example, it is known to work under Windows.) It is also a validating parser, but appears to be simpler than Xerces and may be worth a look if you need to access a validating parser from C and related languages. The gnome-xml web page also has links to several other articles to get you started, and in particular you should take a look at the article on IBM's developerWorks site.

expat - XML Parser Toolkit
<http://www.jclark.com/xml/expat.html>

Objective C wrapper for the expat XML Parser
<http://softrak.stepwise.com/Apps/WebObjects/Softrak.woa/1/wa/displayPackage?package=815&os=10>

The Apache XML Project
<http://xml.apache.org/>

IBM's XML Parser for Java (XML4J)
<http://www.alphaworks.ibm.com/tech/xml4j>

IBM's XML for C++ parser (XML4C)
<http://www.alphaworks.ibm.com/tech/xml4c>

The XML library for Gnome
<http://xmlsoft.org/>

Making application programming easy with GNOME libraries, Part 3
<http://www-4.ibm.com/software/developer/library/gnome3/>

If you're experimenting with XML for the first time, or you need to process XML in a web-related context, you should check out the numerous Perl modules available. A good place to start is the libxml-perl package. Of particular interest are the XML-Grove modules, which let you manipulate an XML document as a tree of objects and access various parts of it using a path-like syntax. This is analogous to the DOM and XPath APIs, and the grove interface will likely become obsolete after these have matured, but in the short term it provides a convenient and powerful approach to XML processing. There are a number of other APIs available for working with XML documents from Perl, including DOM-based and SAX-based parser APIs (the former allows you to access XML documents as a tree of objects, and the latter as a stream of events), as well as support for various approaches to XML querying. IBM has two excellent articles which are not to be missed; one gives a brief run-through of all of the XML-related Perl tools available, and the other gives a detailed tutorial on manipulating XML using Perl, including conversion of XML to HTML and XML-driven database access.

libxml-perl
<http://bitsko.slc.ut.us/>

Essential tools and libraries for using XML with Perl
<http://www-4.ibm.com/software/developer/library/perl-xml-toolkit/>

Manipulating XML documents with Perl and other scripting languages
<http://www-4.ibm.com/software/developer/library/xml-perl/>

When you grow weary of mucking around with the innards of the future web, cruise on over to the MacTech Online web pages at <www.mactech.com/online/>, and let you browser worry about the parsing for a while.

 
AAPL
$102.50
Apple Inc.
+0.25
MSFT
$45.43
Microsoft Corpora
+0.55
GOOG
$571.60
Google Inc.
+2.40

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Path Finder 6.5.5 - Powerful, award-winn...
Path Finder is a file browser that combines the familiar Finder interface with the powerful utilities and innovative features. Just a small selection of the Path Finder 6 feature set: Dual pane... Read more
QuarkXPress 10.2.1 - Desktop publishing...
With QuarkXPress, you can communicate in all the ways you need to -- and always look professional -- in print and digital media, all in a single tool. Features include: Easy to Use -- QuarkXPress is... Read more
Skype 6.19.0.450 - Voice-over-internet p...
Skype allows you to talk to friends, family and co-workers across the Internet without the inconvenience of long distance telephone charges. Using peer-to-peer data transmission technology, Skype... Read more
VueScan 9.4.41 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
Cloud 3.0.0 - File sharing from your men...
Cloud is simple file sharing for the Mac. Drag a file from your Mac to the CloudApp icon in the menubar and we take care of the rest. A link to the file will automatically be copied to your clipboard... Read more
LibreOffice 4.3.1.2 - Free Open Source o...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more
SlingPlayer Plugin 3.3.20.505 - Browser...
SlingPlayer is the screen interface software that works hand-in-hand with the hardware inside the Slingbox to make your TV viewing experience just like that at home. It features an array of... Read more
Get Lyrical 3.8 - Auto-magically adds ly...
Get Lyrical auto-magically add lyrics to songs in iTunes. You can choose either a selection of tracks, or the current track. Or turn on "Active Tagging" to get lyrics for songs as you play them.... Read more
Viber 4.2.2 - Send messages and make cal...
Viber lets you send free messages and make free calls to other Viber users, on any device and network, in any country! Viber syncs your contacts, messages and call history with your mobile device,... Read more
Cocktail 7.6 - General maintenance and o...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for OS X that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Rhonna Designs Magic (Photography)
Rhonna Designs Magic 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Photography Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Want to sprinkle *magic* on your photos? With RD Magic, you can add colors, filters, light leaks, bokeh, edges,... | Read more »
This Week at 148Apps: August 25-29, 2014
Shiny Happy App Reviews   | Read more »
Qube Kingdom – Tips, Tricks, Strategies,...
Qube Kingdom is a tower defense game from DeNA. You rally your troops – magicians, archers, knights, barbarians, and others – and fight against an evil menace looking to dominate your kingdom of tiny squares. Planning a war isn’t easy, so here are a... | Read more »
Qube Kingdom Review
Qube Kingdom Review By Nadia Oxford on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: KIND OF A SQUARE KINGDOMUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Qube Kingdom has cute visuals, but it’s a pretty basic tower defense game at heart.   | Read more »
Fire in the Hole Review
Fire in the Hole Review By Rob Thomas on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: WALK THE PLANKUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Seafoam’s Fire in the Hole looks like a bright, 8-bit throwback, but there’s not enough booty to... | Read more »
Alien Creeps TD is Now Available Worldwi...
Alien Creeps TD is Now Available Worldwide Posted by Ellis Spice on August 29th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Dodo Master Review
Dodo Master Review By Jordan Minor on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: NEST EGGiPad Only App - Designed for the iPad Dodo Master is tough but fair, and that’s what makes it a joy to play.   | Read more »
Motorsport Manager Review
Motorsport Manager Review By Lee Hamlet on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: MARVELOUS MANAGEMENTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Despite its depth and sense of tactical freedom, Motorsport Manager is one of the most... | Read more »
Motorsport Manager – Beginner Tips, Tric...
The world of Motorsport management can be an unforgiving and merciless one, so to help with some of the stress that comes with running a successful race team, here are a few hints and tips to leave your opponents in the dust. | Read more »
CalPal Update Brings the App to 2.0, Add...
CalPal Update Brings the App to 2.0, Adds Lots of New Stuff Posted by Ellis Spice on August 29th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Are We Now In The Post-Post-PC Era?
A longtime and thoroughgoing laptop aficionado, I was more than a little dismayed by Steve Jobs’s declaration back in 2010 when he sprang the iPad on an unsuspecting world. that we’d entered a “post-... Read more
Apple now offering refurbished 21-inch 1.4GHz...
The Apple Store is now offering Apple Certified Refurbished 21″ 1.4GHz iMacs for $929 including free shipping plus Apple’s standard one-year warranty. Their price is $170 off the cost of new models,... Read more
Save $50 on the 2.5GHz Mac mini, on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 2.5GHz Mac mini on sale for $549.99 including free shipping. That’s $50 off MSRP, and B&H will also include a free copy of Parallels Desktop software. NY sales tax only. Read more
Save up to $300 on an iMac with Apple refurbi...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $300 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. These are the best prices on... Read more
The Rise of Phablets
Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group, a businesses and technology consulting firm focused solely on the financial services industry, has released an infographic depicting the convergence of... Read more
Bad Driver Database App Allows Good Drivers t...
Bad Driver Database 1.4 by Facile Group is a new iOS and Android app that lets users instantly input and see how many times a careless, reckless or just plain stupid driver has been added to the... Read more
Eddy – Cloud Music Player for iPhone/iPad Fre...
Ukraine based CapableBits announces the release of Eddy, its tiny, but smart and powerful cloud music player for iPhone and iPad that allows users to stream or download music directly from cloud... Read more
A&D Medical Launches Its WellnessConnecte...
For consumers and the healthcare providers and loved ones who care for them, A&D Medical, a leader in connected health and biometric measurement devices and services, has launched its... Read more
Anand Lal Shimpi Retires From AnandTech
Anand Lal Shimpi, whose AnandTech Website is famous for its meticulously detailed and thoroughgoing reviews and analysis, is packing it in. Lal Shimpi, who founded the tech site at age 14 in 1997,... Read more
2.5GHz Mac mini, Apple refurbished, in stock...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2.5GHz Mac minis available for $509, $90 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included, and shipping is free. Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.