[ANSTHRLD] Somewhat OT: Tech Help (XML files)

Joseph Percer jpercer at gmail.com
Wed May 18 14:01:24 PDT 2011

Gotcha! I appreciate the information, and I'll have to see what I can
do to chop the information into a readable form.



On Wed, May 18, 2011 at 3:57 PM, Tim McDaniel <tmcd at panix.com> wrote:
> On Wed, 18 May 2011, Joseph Percer <jpercer at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Sadly, I cannot figure out how to open and read the downloaded
>> files, which are marked up using an XML document. Can someone direct
>> me how to read XML marked up data? Opening the file in a web browser
>> just shows the markup language and not what I'm actually after.
>> The source is located at: http://ota.oucs.ox.ac.uk/headers/1685.xml
> XML is purely an encoding of data in a machine-readable form.  XML
> provides no formatting or meaning for anything in it.
> For example,
>    <person>
>        <givenName>Tim</givenName>
>        <surname>McDaniel</surname>
>        <email>tmcd at panix.com</email>
>    </person>
> is a valid fragment of XML.  All it's expressing is that there's an
> instance of an object called "person", and there are three data that
> it contains, and names each datum and provides its value.  It says
> nothing about how it ought to be displayed on a screen, in a browser,
> or whatever.  I chose "person", "givenName", "surname", and "email" as
> object instances.  There is no central repository of meaning or
> elements.   You can choose whatever elements you like and ascribe such
> structure and meaning as you like.
> So asking about how to read an XML data file is like asking how to
> read a column of numbers.  The meaning of the data is provided by an
> outside source, and it's up to you to grok it or display it in ways
> that are useful to you.
> There's a programming language called XSLT that can transform XML into
> different XML.  Once you've learned XSLT, you could write code to
> produce XML that happens to be valid HTML.  (Depending on how familiar
> with programming you are and how complicated the XML is, that could
> take hours to weeks.)  But that's like taking a column of numbers and
> deciding to make a bar chart out of them: it's how you decided to
> represent it.
> Danett Lincoln
> --
> Tim McDaniel, tmcd at panix.com
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Joseph M. Percer, AAS, LP

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