XML Introduction

XML Introduction


Traditional application developers and Web site developers who wish to use XML as a data storage and exchange mechanism.

Analysts, technical managers and system architects/designers with responsibility for projects that incorporate XML data structures will also benefit.


An understanding of HTML and a Web scripting Language such as JavaScript or VBScript is recommended. Alternatively, knowledge of a programming language such as Java, C or C# will suffice. Whilst knowledge of OO theory would be an advantage it is not a necessity.


2 days. Hands on.

Course Objectives

By the end of the course students will be equipped with the knowledge to build real world applications using XML documents as a data source for Web, e-commerce and traditional output formats.

The objectives of this Introduction to XML course are to provide the student with:

  • An understanding of the capabilities of XML technology.
  • An explanation of where XML fits in with current Internet application development strategies.
  • Experience of developing XML based applications for Web and traditional environments.
  • The knowledge to create XML data files with associated Document Type Definitions.
  • The ability to create scripting programs that navigate their way through an XML data file and process the data contained within it.
  • The ability to restructure XML data using XSL style sheets.
  • An appreciation of some of the future directions of XML technology as defined by the W3C and interested commercial organisations.

Course Content

Introduction to XML
What is XML?
XML document structure.
XML usage scenarios.
The XML standard.
XML Design goals.

XML Document Syntax and Rules
The ?xml Declaration.
The Root element.
Tags, elements and attributes.
Predefined entities.
Element vs. Attribute usage.
Physical vs. Logical Structure.
Well formed documents.
White space issues.
Unicode Compliance.
Development standards.

The XML Parsing Process
Purpose of the parser.
Document validation.
Java/C++ vs Scripting Parsers.
The MS XML parser in ASP, VB, and scripting environments.
Java parsers.

The Document Object Model (DOM) and DOM Navigation
DOM objects.
The class hierarchy.
Document object structure.
The Document object, Root element and child elements.
Principal methods and properties.
The Node, Document, Element and Attribute classes.
The NodeList and NamedNodeMap classes.
Character data classes.
Element navigation.
Text processing.
Attribute processing.
Reference tables.

Document Updating
Creating and inserting elements.
Adding child elements.
Adding element text.
Adding attributes.
Updating text and attributes.
Deleting elements, text and attributes.
Persisting data.

Introduction to Transformations – The XSLT Language
XSLT processing architectures.
Understanding the transformation process.
Generating HTML and SQL.
XSLT Elements.
Declarations – stylesheet and template.
Control instructions – apply-templates and for-each.
Output instructions – value-of.
Sorting instructions – sort.
Conditional instructions – if, choose, when and otherwise.
Multiple templates.
Further XSLT declarations and instructions.

The Document Type Definition
Purpose of the DTD.
The DOCTYPE declaration.
Element and Attribute declarations.
Character data.
Element structure control.
Content Models.
Mixed content model.
External and Internal DTDs.

Additional Topics
XML Schemas The 'X' family of W3C standards.
The Simple API for XML – SAX.
XML Development Tools.
XML Reference Sites.

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