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If you've been paying attention over the last few weeks, you'll already know a little bit about XML, and how it hopes to alter the way data is classified and used on the Web. By marking up data fragments with HTML-like tags and attributes, XML provides the content author with an efficient and simple method of describing data...and the Web developer with a powerful new weapon to add to his or her arsenal.
Now, XML data is physically stored in text files, as pure ASCII. As a format, this is as close to universal as you can get - every computer system on planet Earth can read and process ASCII text, making XML extremely portable between platforms and systems. Tie this in with that other platform-independent language, Java, and you have a marriage made in cross-platform heaven.
Over the course of this two-part article, I'll be examining the union of Java and XML, illustrating how the two technologies can be combined to easily parse XML data and convert it into browser-friendly HTML. My tool in this endeavour will be the Xerces XML parser, a validating Java-based parser which supports the XML 1.0, DOM Level 2, SAX 1.0 and 2.0 and XML Schema standards. Highly configurable, and with a rich feature set, Xerces is a part of the Apache XML Project, and is designed to meet the twin standards of performance and compatibility when parsing XML documents.
I'll try and keep it simple - I'm going to use very simple XML sources, so you don't have to worry about namespaces, DTDs and PIs - although I will assume that you know the basic rules of XML markup, and of Java programming. So let's get this show on the road.
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