Archive for the ‘XML’ Category

Learn XML to learn HTML to learn web service design

February 24, 2008

Ten years ago I was struggling to learn HTML. Then along came this new technology called XML, which quickly captured my attention and interest. As I learned XML, the questions I had with HTML vanished.

I have spent the last 10 years immersed in the XML family of technologies.

For the past year I have been revisiting HTML, and also learning its associated suite of technologies: CSS, JavaScript and DOM. As I learn the HTML family of technologies, the questions I have with building XML-based web applications are vanishing.

I am impressed with HTML. It is the most thoroughly scrutinized and most widely implemented markup language in the world. Spending time thoroughly learning HTML has been time well spent. It has helped me with designing better XML. It’s been a full circle: XML helped me to understand HTML, and HTML has helped me to understand XML.

The HTML family of technologies run within a browser. As I learn the HTML technologies, I have come to appreciate the browser as a remarkably flexible web application. By focusing on HTML and its family of technologies I have come to learn about flexible web application design.

My Recommendation

Building an XML-based web application or web service? Then study HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and DOM. Learn the principles of progressive enhancement, graceful degradation, and web standards design.

XML stands for Extensible Markup Language, not eXtensible Markup Language

February 21, 2008

A couple days ago there was this interesting exchange on the xml-dev list:

Elliotte Rusty Harold wrote:

> The X stands for eXtensible.

Tim Bray (editor of the XML specification) responded:

> Elliotte, hang your head in shame, and write on the chalkboard 10 ** 10 times:

> XML stands for Extensible Markup Language
> The X is for the first syllable of Extensible
> eXtensible is a spelling error.

Continually revisit the basics

January 27, 2008

Years ago when I was in college I was a chemistry major.  I did quite well in my studies.  Even in the advanced courses, I was always reviewing the material from the introductory courses.

Nowadays I am immersed in a technology called XML.  I have the good fortune to be able to teach XML courses.  I enjoy teaching the XML foundation’s course in particular as it enables me to review the basics.

Interestingly, each time I reviewed the introductory chemistry material, and each time I teach the XML foundation’s course, I always discovered something new.

A friend pointed out to me that athletes are always practicing the fundamentals, e.g. the basketball player continually practices throwing free-throws, the quarterback of a football team continually practices throwing the football.

No matter how advanced or how proficient you are in your field, it is important to continually revisit the basics.