XML for the Rest of Us

In this course you learn why XML is becoming a key standard on the Web, how it changes the way you write, and how XML tags take your text through a maze of software from your desk to the user. You learn about the critical role of software called a parser, that monitors the tags you write to make sure they are correct, then checks the structure of your document, to make sure it matches a standard defined in a Document Type Definition or Schema. Then you create all parts of an XML document, learning how to start and end a tag, how to write the names correctly, how to enter values, and, where to put the actual content. In frequent short exercises, you learn how to create all the components of an XML document and a prolog, with an XML declaration, comments, and processing instructions, and a body with elements, attributes, entity references. And you learn how to follow the standard structure with your tags, to make sure that your document can be validated by the parser. By the end of the course, you will have several short XML documents, and one complex XML document, to use in your portfolio.

Note that this course does not espouse any particular software tool, and does not go into creating a Document Type Definition, Schema, or Namespaces. You do not need to know HTML, although some familiarity with it could be helpful. You do not need any special software, other than a word processor, and a browser, with an Internet connection.

Each week's work includes reading our material, doing exercises, and participating in online discussions. By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Write an entire XML document that passes the tests for correct format and structure
  • Describe the forces driving the XML revolution
  • List 10 benefits to using XML tags for content
  • Describe the relationship between your XML document, its structural model, and its stylesheet
  • Describe the way your XML document passes through various software gates, moving from you to the user
  • Explain the role of the XML parser, and the user's browser, in interpreting your XML document
  • Create a full prolog to an XML document
  • Read and write XML tags for elements, attributes, entity references, comments, processing instructions, and other components of an XML document
  • Spot problems with incorrect XML tagging, and make corrections
  • Ensure that your document is well formed
  • Ensure that your document has a valid structure.

[Former 3560]

Prerequisites :

No prerequisites