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Tip: Generating internal HTML links with XSLT
Uche Ogbuji walks you through how to use XSLT to populate HTML or XHTML output with anchors and internal links. Internal links help to organize long HTML content; XSLT provides facilities for generating those internal links, but some of the methods are somewhat obscure. This tip, with reusable sample code, clearly spells out two approaches for the process.
Also available in: Japanese  
Articles 01 Feb 2001
The Python Web services developer, Part 3: Web services software repository, Part 2
Continuing their example of a Web service for storing and managing software, Uche Ogbuji and Mike Olson illustrate how to update the repository using SOAP messages and how to advertise it as a Web service.
Also available in: Japanese  
Articles 01 May 2001
Tip: Default and error handling in XSLT lookup tables
In a previous tip, Uche Ogbuji demonstrated how to build lookup tables in XSLT. One follow-up question to emerge from that article is how to handle error or default conditions in XSLT lookup tables. This tip illustrates how to do so.
Articles 22 Dec 2004
Tip: Keep context straight in XSLT
Developers frequently forget where context changes in XPath. XSLT provides an anchor for the initial context used for XPath expressions -- the current() function. In this tip, Uche Ogbuji warns about common bugs associated with changing context, and explains how to use current(). You should be familiar with the basics of XPath and XSLT.
Articles 01 Feb 2003
Tip: SAX filters for flexible processing
SAX filters allow you to construct complex XML processing behaviors from simple, independent modules. In this tip, Uche Ogbuji introduces this important XML processing technique.
Articles 01 Mar 2003
Thinking XML: Serving up WordNet as XML
A few articles back, Uche Ogbuji discussed WordNet 2.0, a Princeton University project that aims to build a database of English words and lexical relationships between them. He showed how to extract XML serializations from the word database. In this article he continues the exploration, demonstrating code to serve up these WordNet/XML documents over Web protocols and showing you how to access these from XSLT.
Articles 30 Aug 2005
EXSLT by example
Community standards have had a very important role in XML technology, from SAX to RDDL. The most important community standard for XSLT is the EXSLT initiative for standard extension functions and elements. In this article, Uche Ogbuji uses practical examples to introduce and demonstrate some useful EXSLT functions.
Also available in: Japanese  
Articles 01 Feb 2003
Thinking XML: Universal Business Language (UBL)
Universal Business Language (UBL) is an ambitious effort to unify the chaotic world of XML formats for business. Recently, the group behind UBL released the first work products for public review. In this article Uche Ogbuji takes a first in-depth look at UBL.
Articles 01 Feb 2003
XML in Firefox 1.5, Part 1: Overview of XML features
The open source Firefox Web browser continues to grow in popularity. Users like the security and convenience features it offers. Developers like the Firefox attention to standards compliance, inherited from its Mozilla roots. The most recent version, Firefox 1.5, comes with many features for XML developers, including XML parsing, XHTML, CSS, XSLT, SVG, XML Events in JavaScript, and XForms. Additional third-party extensions provide even more XML support. In this article, Uche Ogbuji provides an overview of XML features in Firefox 1.5.
Also available in: Japanese  
Articles 21 Mar 2006
Tip: Use internal references in XML vocabularies
In some cases, you can avoid repeating identical data fields by using internal references from one field to another. Uche Ogbuji demonstrates how in this tip.
Also available in: Japanese  
Articles 01 Mar 2003
Debug XSLT on the fly
In this article, Uche Ogbuji shows how to do quick debugging using xsl:message and other built-in facilities of XSLT, as well as common extensions in EXSLT.
Articles 01 Nov 2002
Principles of XML design: Use XML namespaces with care
XML namespaces are an imperfect solution to a difficult problem. From basic information architecture to difficulties with APIs, namespaces can open up rather painful gotchas if used carelessly. In this article, Uche Ogbuji covers some of the more important design principles which, if followed, can minimize problems with namespaces.
Also available in: Japanese  
Articles 06 Apr 2004
Tip: Always use an XML declaration
The XML declaration is optional in XML files, and defaults determine most of the information in the file. However, problems are common when these defaults do not match reality -- for example, the document could use an encoding other than one of the defaults. It's always safer to make the XML declaration. In this tip, Uche Ogbuji covers what should be included in the XML declaration on all files.
Also available in: Russian  
Articles 05 Jun 2007
Tip: Use rdf:about and rdf:ID effectively in RDF/XML
The combination of RDF and XML allows for several different approaches to specifying resources, and sometimes the rules for interpreting the syntax can be troublesome. In this tip, Uche Ogbuji uses examples to illustrate the various behaviors of the rdf:ID and rdf:about attributes, and shows how to use XML Base to control these behaviors.
Also available in: Japanese  
Articles 01 Feb 2003
Introducing XML canonical form
XML is careful to separate details of a file or other data source, bit-by-bit, from the abstract model of an XML document. This can be an inconvenience when comparing two XML documents for equality -- either directly (for instance, as part of a test suite) or by comparing digital signatures for security purposes -- to determine whether an XML document has been tampered with in some way. The W3C addresses this problem with the XML Canonicalization spec (c14n), which defines a standard form for an XML document that is guaranteed to provide proper bit-wise comparisons and thus consistent digital signatures. In this article, Uche Ogbuji introduces XML Canonicalization.
Also available in: Japanese  
Articles 07 Dec 2004
Thinking XML: Good advice for creating XML
The use of XML has become widespread, but much of it is not well formed. When it is well formed, it's often of poor design, which makes processing and maintenance very difficult. And much of the infrastructure for serving XML can compound these problems. In response, there has been some public discussion of XML best practices, such as Henri Sivonen's document, "HOWTO Avoid Being Called a Bozo When Producing XML." Uche Ogbuji frequently discusses XML best practices on IBM developerWorks, and in this column, he gives you his opinion about the main points discussed in such articles.
Articles 31 Jan 2006
Principles of XML design: When the order of XML elements matters
When multiple XML elements occur within another element, does element order matter? Whether it's the order in which the parser reports elements to applications, or the question of whether or not to mandate specific order in schema patterns, things are not always as simple as they seem. In this article, Uche Ogbuji covers design and processing considerations related to the order of XML elements.
Also available in: Japanese  
Articles 29 Apr 2005
Thinking XML: XML Topic Maps by the book
Topic Maps provide a system for organizing information, and XML Topic Maps bring this system to the world of XML. In this article, Uche Ogbuji examines XML Topic Maps, introducing the technology in the course of reviewing a key book on the topic.
Articles 30 Jul 2003
Principles of XML design: When to use elements versus attributes
The oldest question asked by adopters of XML is when to use elements and when to use attributes in XML design. As with most design issues, this question rarely has absolute answers, but developers have also experienced a lack of very clear guidelines to help them make this decision. In this article, Uche Ogbuji offers a set of guiding principles for what to put in elements and what to put in attributes.
Articles 04 Mar 2004
Tip: Computing word count in XML documents
XML is text and yet more than just text -- sometimes you want to work with just the content rather than the tags and other markup. In this tip, Uche Ogbuji demonstrates simple techniques for counting the words in XML content using XSLT with or without additional tools.
Articles 29 Sep 2005
Process Atom 1.0 with XSLT
Atom 1.0 is the emerging Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standard for Web feeds -- information updates on Web site contents. Since Atom is an XML format, XSLT is a powerful tool for processing it. In this tutorial, Uche Ogbuji looks at XSLT techniques for processing Atom documents, addressing real-life use cases.
Also available in: Japanese  
Tutorial 31 May 2012
Process XML in the browser using jQuery
The popular jQuery JavaScript library is best known for its use working with HTML, but you can also use it to process XML, if you're careful and aware of the pitfalls. This article shows how to use jQuery to process the Atom Web feed format. Web feed XML is perhaps the most pervasive XML format around, and the main fulfillment of the promise of XML on the Web. But most such formats use XML namespaces, which cause issues with many popular JavaScript libraries, including jQuery.
Also available in: Chinese   Japanese   Portuguese  
Articles 08 Dec 2009
Real Web 2.0: Wikipedia, champion of user-generated content
Encourage user contribution to your Web site by learning from Wikipedia. Wikipedia builds on open source and respects the geographical variety and potential accessibility needs of its users. It provides tools to help users contribute, but also fosters an atmosphere where contributions are verified and discussed by the community.
Also available in: Chinese   Russian  
Articles 04 Sep 2007
Tip: Counting with node sets
Many common XSLT tasks, including simple loops, can be made easier by using special properties of node set operations. This tip discusses using node sets for simple and efficient loop control.
Articles 01 May 2002
Real Web 2.0: Linking open data
Learn about Linking Open Data (LOD), a community initiative for moving the Web from the idea of separated documents to a wide information space of data. The key principles of LOD are that it is simple, readily adaptable by Web developers, and complements many other popular Web trends. Learn how to make your data more widely used by making its components easier to discover, more valuable, and easier for people to reuse--in ways you might not anticipate.
Also available in: Chinese   Japanese  
Articles 05 Feb 2008
Tip: Use data dictionary links for XML and Web services schemata
When designing XML and Web services schemata you will often (and ideally) reuse data elements defined in pre-existing standards. When you do, it is extremely useful to include links to such standards, providing precise data dictionary references. In so doing, you make processing and maintenance easier to automate. This tip illustrates this practice.
Articles 20 May 2004
Real Web 2.0: Practical linked, open data with Exhibit
In the previous installment of this column you learned about Linking Open Data (LOD), a community initiative for moving the Web from separated documents to a broad information space of data. That article covered the main ideas of LOD, and in this article you will see how to quickly put these ideas to use. Learn about the Exhibit Web library from the MIT Simile project, which allows you to construct functional and visually attractive user interfaces without much work, once you have good LOD available.
Also available in: Chinese  
Articles 13 May 2008
Tip: Use Universal Feed Parser to tame RSS
RSS is supposed to be based on XML (or XML/RDF) standards. Unfortunately, the famous wild west community behind RSS has many renegade elements producing feeds that are not even well-formed XML. Mark Pilgrim's excellent Universal Feed Parser is a great tool for parsing even ill-formed feeds, and this tip demonstrates how to use it to extract feed data from RSS.
Articles 01 Oct 2004
On demand data in Python, Part 1: Python iterators and generators
The oldest known way to process data in Python is building up data in lists, dictionaries and other such data structures. Though such techniques work well in many cases, they cause major problems when dealing with large quantities of data. It's easy to find that your code is running painfully slowly or running out of memory. Generators and iterators help address this problem. These techniques have been around in Python for a while but are not well understood. Used properly, they can bring big data tasks down to size so that they don't require a huge hardware investment to complete.
Also available in: Chinese   Japanese  
Articles 21 Jun 2018
Principles of XML design: Element structures for names and addresses
A critical issue in designing XML formats is figuring out how to arrange elements and represent relationships between them. Element design works best when it naturally corresponds to how people think about the concepts that each element represents. This article discusses best practices for organizing information into XML elements, focusing on representation of names and addresses.
Articles 06 Aug 2004
Tip: Using pull-based DOMs
XML application developers usually have to contend with the complexities of SAX or the inefficiencies of DOM. This tip shows how a pull approach to DOM can effectively bridge the gap between the two by offering simple, efficient parsing.
Articles 01 May 2002
Mix and match Web components with Python WSGI
Learn to create and reuse components in your Web server using Python. The Python community created the Web Server Gateway Interface (WSGI), a standard for creating Python Web components that work across servers and frameworks. It provides a way to develop Web applications that take advantage of the many strengths of different Web tools. This article introduces WSGI and shows how to develop components that contribute to well-designed Web applications.
Also available in: Russian  
Articles 22 Aug 2006
Tip: XSLT lookup tables
Lookup tables, a common programming tool, efficiently transform one value to another. In this tip learn how to implement lookup tables in XSLT. A basic understanding of XSLT is required.
Articles 01 Feb 2001
Introducing MicroXML, Part 2: Process MicroXML with microxml-js
MicroXML is a simplification of XML that is compatible with earlier versions. Part 1 of this two-article series covers the basic principles of MicroXML. MicroXML is designed with a straightforward grammar that can be processed with many modern general-purpose parsing tools. James Clark, who led the original push for MicroXML, is among those thinkers who developed a parser for the community specification. Learn how to use Clark's JavaScript MicroXML parser to experiment with the format.
Also available in: Chinese   Russian   Japanese   Portuguese  
Articles 07 May 2013
The stateless state
"State" is a central concern of all sorts of distributed applications, but especially of Web applications, as HTTP and its derivatives are intrinsically stateless. Clear thinking about how data persists across retrievals, sessions, processes, and other boundaries can help you improve your Web applications, both present and future.
Also available in: Chinese  
Articles 22 Jul 2008
Make your HTML pages smarter with RDFa 1.1 Lite
Resource Description Framework (RDF) has evolved into increasingly pragmatic formats over time. RDF annotation (RDFa) has been particularly successful as a system for annotating HTML documents inline on the web. It is supported by Google and other search engines in the form of Rich Snippets. The emergence of microdata and the initiative applied pressure to simplify RDFa even further. The W3C took action and produced a radically simplified version: RDFa 1.1 Lite. In this article, learn about RDFa Lite, and get a head start on producing and processing the shape of Rich Snippets to come.
Also available in: Chinese   Russian   Japanese  
Articles 01 May 2012
Do more in CSS with LESS
Learn how to use LESS to write readable and maintainable Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) for modern websites. CSS makes the terrible old days of layout tricks with tables and invisible images a dim memory. But CSS is still unfriendly, and several initiatives tried to tame it for developers. One of the best is LESS, which extends CSS with dynamic behavior such as variables, mixins, operations, and functions. LESS is a CSS-like language that compiles seamlessly into CSS either on the client side or through server-side preprocessing.
Also available in: Chinese   Russian   Japanese  
Articles 18 Jul 2013
Social networks meet open-source project hosting
The revolutionary effects of social networks have not missed the world of software development. Many services emerged to support collaboration on projects over the Internet, especially in the world of open-source software. Concepts such as distributed version control, routine forking, and pull requests are in some ways changing the basic process of group development. One of the most popular social networks for software collaboration is GitHub, whose motto is "Social Coding." Learn about development social networks in the context of GitHub, but with principles applicable to other sites such as BitBucket, and even to your organization's internal systems.
Also available in: Chinese   Japanese  
Articles 08 May 2012
Introducing MicroXML, Part 1: Explore the basic principles of MicroXML
Parts of the XML community always grumble that XML is difficult to understand and process. XML is fundamentally complex for various historical reasons, and people proposed simplified versions for more than a decade. JSON and HTML5 threaten some of the most basic XML tenets. MicroXML -- a simplification of XML that is compatible with earlier versions -- emerged from discussions of these issues. MicroXML is now under the guidance of a W3C community group, and several basic implementations are already available for the draft specification. In this first article of a two-part series, learn from one of the MicroXML Community Group co-chairs about MicroXML and its technical differences from the XML 1.x core standards.
Also available in: Chinese   Russian   Japanese  
Articles 07 May 2013
Thinking XML: Analyze financial reporting using XBRL
Thanks to recent events, the world turns its eyes to Wall Street. One of the hot topics is how to increase the transparency of descriptions of business activity and financial results. The financial sector and the SEC have long approached this problem with XBRL, an XML language for business reports. XBRL uses a variety of XML technologies, including XLink to provide rich detail for financial information. Learn to interpret and analyze financial report information in XBRL, using an actual U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission report as an example.
Also available in: Chinese   Russian   Japanese  
Articles 06 Jan 2009
Build rapid and lightweight static websites with Hyde
Web publishing frameworks are great, but sometimes they're just too much and you want a simple, static site that you can rely on for good and consistent performance. Static site generators are a useful hybrid for those occasions when you want the convenience of a web publishing framework without the overhead. Hyde is a popular site generator that provides powerful templating, based on Django, and metadata management. It's implemented in Python but does not strictly require Python knowledge. In this article, learn to use Hyde to accelerate development of static websites.
Also available in: Chinese   Russian   Japanese  
Articles 05 Feb 2013
Tip: Namespaces and versioning
You can use several techniques for versioning XML schemas, such as defining special root attributes or using the DTD. This tip discusses how to use XML namespaces to version formats.
Articles 01 Jun 2002
Thinking XML: The XML flavor of HTML5
For a while, there has been a struggle for the future of markup on the web, a struggle between the W3C's XHTML 2 and HTML5, developed by the major browser vendors under a separate organizational umbrella. First, the W3C took over HTML5, and now it recently announced the sunset of the XHTML 2 effort. This makes a significant difference to the future of XML on the web, and furthermore, because of HTML5's momentum, it is now a technology that every XML developer already has to deal with. But fans of XML need not despair: HTML5 supports a proper XML serialization. Learn about the XML form of HTML5 including some key differences from older XHTML conventions and learn how to practically apply this vocabulary in modern web browsers.
Also available in: Chinese   Japanese  
Articles 08 Jul 2010
Prototype web applications with CouchDB and Bootstrap
Combine Apache CouchDB with Twitter's Bootstrap to kickstart web application development in a way that cleanly separates the presentation and database layers. CouchDB is well-known as a relaxing way to develop databases, especially for websites. On the front end, more open source toolkits are emerging for prototyping sites, and even for full deployment. Among them, the Bootstrap framework is especially useful for working up web UIs. Learn how to build on Bootstrap while you use CouchDB for persistence.
Also available in: Chinese   Russian   Japanese  
Articles 04 Jun 2013
Tip: Use XML directly over HTTP for Web services (where appropriate)
SOAP technologies usually exchange XML over HTTP, but SOAP has its pros and cons, and a lot of discussion has focused on how to use XML more directly to communicate between applications. This tip describes the direct approach, and discusses where it is most appropriate. It also discusses how to use WSDL to describe such services.
Articles 15 Jan 2004
Principles of XML design: Considering container elements
A critical issue in designing XML formats is figuring out how to arrange elements and represent relationships between them. Element design works best when it naturally corresponds to how people think about the concepts that each element represents. This article discusses best practices for organizing information into XML elements, focusing on the use of container elements.
Also available in: Japanese  
Articles 24 Sep 2004
Tip: Apply profile links to microformats
Microformats are a popular way to incorporate structured data into regular Web pages. Unfortunately, using microformats without some measure of control can lead to confusion and technical problems. Learn how formal profile declarations in your documents can improve the value of your microformats.
Articles 26 Jun 2007
Make your websites smarter with, Part 1: Introduction to the information model is an initiative originally created by search engine companies and experts to support web publishers by describing the things that web pages are actually about. This series, in which I explain the core information model, helps you expand your web developer skills and get a head start on advances in search engine platforms and personal assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa.
Also available in: Chinese  
Articles 05 Dec 2017
Real Web 2.0: Meet and Reddit, heirs of Slashdot
Explore the user and developer features that make up a modern Web news site. and Reddit are popular sites, both as destinations in themselves and as sources for mashups and other ways to provide customized experiences to users. Examine an example customization of Reddit using the Greasemonkey extension for Mozilla Firefox.
Also available in: Chinese   Russian  
Articles 26 Jun 2007
Real Web 2.0: Battling Web spam, Part 1
Spam on the Web is one of the biggest threats to a modern Web developer. The "bad guys" become more and more sophisticated every year in how to vandalize and proliferate ads over any Web 2.0 page they can grasp. To make matters worse, spam is increasingly used to distribute malware. The arms race is on, and Web developers need to know what basic tools are available to battle spam on their Web sites. This two-part installment provides a thorough guide to anti-spam techniques. This first article explains how to assess whether a visitor is a spammer and how to organize site workflow to discourage spam.
Also available in: Chinese  
Articles 02 Dec 2008
Working with Web server logs
How do you know who is doing what and where on your site? Chances are you have an Apache-style log for your site, and you just need to learn how to mine it for valuable information. Learn about the format of Web server logs and how to access them in code. Along the way, apply a recipe to identify spider traffic from Web crawlers.
Also available in: Chinese   Japanese  
Articles 27 Oct 2009
Mapping and geospatial datasets in
Learn more about geospatial data sets in, including how to load them into Google Earth and adapt them to other analytic and general tools.
Also available in: Russian   Portuguese  
Articles 03 Jul 2012
Introducing PyPy
Improve the performance of your Python development and add flexibility with PyPy with just-in-time compiler implementation. Learn about PyPy, its benefits, and how it can accelerate development of high-performance applications.
Also available in: Chinese   Russian   Japanese  
Articles 14 Feb 2012
On demand data in Python, Part 2: The magic of itertools
Python's motto has always been "Batteries included," to highlight its extensive standard library. There are many well-kept secrets among the standard modules, including itertools, which is less well known in part because iterators and generators are less well known. This is a shame because the routines in itertools and related modules such as functools and operators can save developers many hours in developing big data operators. Learn by copious examples how to use itertools to address the most common MapReduce-style data science tasks.
Also available in: Chinese   Japanese  
Articles 22 Jun 2018
Using WSDL in SOAP applications
Web Services Description Language (WSDL) is a new specification to describe networked XML-based services. It provides a simple way for service providers to describe the basic format of requests to their systems regardless of the underlying protocol (such as Simple Object Access Protocol or XML) or encoding (such as Multipurpose Internet Messaging Extensions). WSDL is a key part of the effort of the Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) initiative to provide directories and descriptions of such on-line services for electronic business. This article provides a brief background and technical introduction to WSDL. Knowledge of XML and XML Namespaces is required and some familiarity with XML Schemas and SOAP is useful.
Also available in: Japanese  
Articles 01 Nov 2000
Choosing a database management system
Anyone looking for a good flame war can always drop into any software development forum and casually ask what database software should be used for the next project, or even ask whether he or she needs to bother with a relational database. Because databases technologies are such an important part of programmer philosophy, it is hard to find objective discussion for the hapless developer looking for a good, general-purpose database management system (DBMS) to use in a project. How does one choose between the relative features of different DBMSes? What sorts strengths and weaknesses of various products can one anticipate products? This article tries to discuss some of these matters on even ground.
Articles 01 Jul 2001
Key questions from an enterprise data architect
Data is the lifeblood of the enterprise, and the best way to prepare for a development and integration project is to document the characteristics of the data that drive the target applications. Learn the key questions that an enterprise data architect should explore in order to effectively document the characteristics of relevant data and take the most important first step towards project success.
Articles 06 May 2008
Rapid web development with Bootstrap
Learn how to use Bootstrap to kickstart websites and web applications, including mobile-friendly ones. Bootstrap, which is based on the LESS project, was developed by Twitter's internal engineers to provide a consistent framework for web application UIs.
Also available in: Chinese   Russian   Japanese  
Articles 06 Aug 2013
Make your websites smarter with, Part 2: The syntaxes
The second part of this four-part series shows you how to translate the abstract information model for data in your web pages into one of the three formats supported by RDFa, Microdata, and JSON-LD
Also available in: Chinese  
Articles 05 Dec 2017
Real Web 2.0: Quick and dirty Web applications with bookmarklets
Web 2.0 is well known for the fact that it's not built on breathtaking new inventions, but rather on renewed emphasis on age-old Web technologies. One of those age-old technologies that is enjoying a revival in Web 2.0 is bookmarklets. A bookmarklet is essentially a Web application shoehorned into a regular browser bookmark. This article includes a fully functioning bookmarklet and installation instructions you can use to highlight text on any Web page and search IBM developerWorks for that text.
Also available in: Chinese  
Articles 07 Aug 2007
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