XML, XSL, XHTML, etc.

Several months back, well probably last year in fact, I borrowed a couple of books from the library on XML, XHTML and the related standards with a view to revamping a few websites I look after. Good intentions, but lack of time meant I did little more than scan through the chapters and read a few sections before returning the books. Fast forwarding to the end of last week and this weekend and I’m back considering the long overdue overhaul of some of my websites – particularly my company one as it will be hitting the Yellow Pages shortly (yay, lookout for ‘Linux’ in the Yellow Pages!). Anyway, I did a bit of searching and reading around on sites like the W3C, W3Schools and a selection of other hits that came up and seemed to get nowhere. They all concentrate so hard on explaining what XML is, why it is good and a few references to the fact that XHTML brings XML to the web via updates to HTML, but none of them give any decent examples of how to actually use it. It all makes sense to me, or appears to, in concept. It all sounds very nice and I’m itching to get going, but whereas I could pick up a text editor and knock out some HTML pages quite quickly back in the days of Netscape 1.x; then as things progressed add in the new features, a bit of Javascript when needed and tidy things up with a bit of CSS; this next stage seems shrouded in a complete lack of any practical examples.

I can specify my structure and data until the cows come home, but without some idea of how to tie this all together into valid usable XHTML it is not a lot of use. I’ll have to try a bit more digging around tomorrow I guess, but so far the step from small snippets of pseudo code in the examples given to my own actual page is proving elusive. The concept I like, it makes sense, it sounds
as though it will make my life orders of magnitude easier if only I could fathom how to link the whole lot together. The XHTML examples I have found just look like fairly standard HTML to me, except with the emphasis that it needs to be accurate, case correct and with close tags in the right places – well that’s just good HTML coding surely; is that all XHTML is – good HTML coding tied together with a bit of CSS? Am I trying to read more into it than is really there?

Ah well, off to bed. The past few weeks have been more than a little hectic with both of the nippers having chicken pox one after the other and then ‘big nipper’ being sick for the last day of school (what a wonderful night that was leaping up with a bucket every ten minutes from around 3am onwards!). Perhaps I’m just too tired to take it all in properly. Then again it could just be my age, after all I’ve just become an uncle for the second time, so I must be getting on a bit now!!

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