ASP.NET and XML Questions
First, there the tech info:
I'm a complete newbie to ASP.NET, XML, VB.NET, and XSLT, but this is basically what my boss wants me to do:
1) ASP.NET w/VB.NET scripting - to format and display data
2) XML - for pure data
3) XSLT - for browser stylesheets
Our hope is to have our entire site be downloadable for users in different formats no matter what browser they use. But I have a few questions about this new setup:
1) I realize that XSLT is an important step in accomplishing this, but couldn't I accomplish this by using just a regular ASP.NET page to pull in the data and display it by itself, instead of adding a 2nd step of an XML page for data?
2) Wouldn't an ASP.NET page and an XML page accomplish the same thing?
3) Is there a way to use ASP.NET and XSLT together without the additional step of using XML?
I'm really hoping that someone can clear this up for me, because I'm getting somewhat confused why I should use both ASP.NET and XML vs. just using ASP.NET. I hope to hear from someone soon. Thanks.
If you use XML to hold the data, it's easier for people to use the data, as opposed to digging it out of HTML. XSLT will handle the presentation of the data, without any need to alter the underlying format of the data.
If I understand how it works correctly, content is provided as XML. If the consumer is a browser, it uses the style sheet in presenting the data. Other consumers can work with the data without being burdened with any stylistic fluff getting between them and the data.
ASP.NET can spew any form of data (that can be represented in binary, of course) back to the requester: XML; HTML; plaintext; grapics; whatever... It doesn't matter to it what you want to send.
If the pages are data centric, then it makes very good sense to use XML, as it makes the data more accessible. If, on the other hand, the pages contain an assortment of stuff that is unlikely to be processed by anything other than the human mind, then the case for XML isn't as compelling.
The two primary tasks you'd face would be: retrieving the data as XML and creating the style sheet to present the data as desired. I don't know how much or little a PITA developing the style sheets would present, but generating the XML will (eventually, at least) be a piece of cake.
Thanks for the quick and thorough advice. I've been reviewing how to pull in data into an ASP.NET page, and it does seem A LOT simpler to just use pure XML data within the ASP.NET page with XSLT stylesheets. Your synopsis is right on, and I greatly appreciate it!
You're welcome. Glad to be of help.
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