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

Joseph Percer jpercer at gmail.com
Wed May 18 14:10:46 PDT 2011

As a follow-up, I dropped the file into OpenOffice just now out of
curiosity, and it parsed it into readable data.


On Wed, May 18, 2011 at 4:01 PM, Joseph Percer <jpercer at gmail.com> wrote:
> Gotcha! I appreciate the information, and I'll have to see what I can
> do to chop the information into a readable form.
> Thanks!
> Andrewe
> 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

Joseph M. Percer, AAS, LP

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