About the Project
This faculty development project was carried out during the summer of 2000. The major thrust of the project to
enable the author to learn about the increasingly important technology of XML, to ascertain the current state of
affairs concerning this technology, and to share the results of the study via
- A set of web pages that would provide a quick overview for other faculty who might be interested in considering
the appropriateness of XML for use with their documents and data.
- A module on the use of XML with databases to be used in Department's database management course.
- A spring term course to be offered in the spring of 2001 concerning modern web technologies and including XML.
The project was supported by a faculty development grant through the Culpeper
Grant of 1999 of the Tucker Media Center.
At this point, we are taking a quick look at a rapidly changing landscape with XML. There is a rapidly growing
industry developing around the XML technology. On the positive side:
- There are already software development companies that are basing their complete product lines on XML.
- There are major corporations who are basing their entire information systems on XML.
- The leading commercial database management systems are providing XML capabilities.
- More and more tools for developing and using XML are being provided daily.
At the same time it is important to realize that not all pieces to the puzzle are in place at this time:
- While the current version of the Internet Explorer browser provides some XML support, Netscape does not (evidently,
Netscape uses XML internally). Netscape's Mozilla browser will provide considerable XML support.
- While the related XSL style language provides considerable capabilities for transfer of documents from one
XML format to another, the display capabilities are not there yet. However Cascading Style Sheets can be used with
So, the term "snapshots" implies that we are attempting to capture a limited point in time by providing
several different points of view of XML as it currently exists. These snapshots can not cover the entire spectrum
of issues and potential applications concerning XML. However, this will provide a realistic picture of the present
and an optimistic look at what's coming. There is much that can be done effectively with XML right now. There is
much more that is just around the corner.
Scope of the Project
These notes are very limited in scope and ambition - to serve as a quick introduction to XML and some of its
The notes are certainly not intended to serve as
- A tutorial on XML - there are many good books appearing regularly as well as web sites that do this.
- A thorough introduction to XML. Rather we'll try to give the flavor of XML, the advantages of XML, and the
steps needed to start using XML.
- An XML reference document.
- What is XML: A brief statement about the nature of XML.
- Books : Primary XML books used in the project.
- Web Source: A good starting point for XML resources
- XML vs. HTML: Some differences between the two.
Album 1: The College Catalog Voyage
Album 2: A Trip Through Many Lands