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XML, XSL and XSLT

Those collection of letters can invoke some strange reactions in people, often involving hitting their heads on tables or running screaming into walls! Thats quite understandable, I've seen many projects where the use of such technologies has gone seriously sideways and resulted in a mess beyond belief.

Many issues steam from people not really understanding what, why, and how these technologies should be used and going into a project half cocked. So to start off we will have a brief look at what each technology does.

XML

In the simplest terms XML is just a file format. It's structure however means that each element (field) can be given a readable name, and it supports hierarchy layouts (multiple levels) which allows groupings and multiple record types to be stored in the same file. However the biggest advantage that XML has is it's companion technologies XSD and XSLT.
(more and examples...)

XSD

XSD is a schema format for XML. It's descries what elements and layout is to be used, what formats those elements are as well as data-format rules. It also provides a means of communicating the format of XML to others that is both machine and human (well... it takes all sorts... I use XMLSpy) readable. I think that XSDs are the single most important feature of XML and anybody making XML files without making a XSD needs to have their heads checked.
(more and examples...)

XSLT

This is a transformation language, it takes a XML input and outputs to nearly any other text format including HTML, CSV and even XML ;). A common use is to convert from one XML format to another and to transform XML into HTML for browser display. It is very powerful, but it can be quite painful as well, mainly because of the limited manipulation methods available.
(more and examples...) 

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example_books.css
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Bevan Coleman,
6 Oct 2009, 05:47
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example_books.xml
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6 Oct 2009, 05:47
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example_books.xsd
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Bevan Coleman,
6 Oct 2009, 05:47
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example_books_csv.xslt
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Bevan Coleman,
6 Oct 2009, 05:47
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example_books_xhtml.xslt
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6 Oct 2009, 05:47
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