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XML Meets Java...and Meta Data

By Nate Zelnick One of the problems with XML today is that, while there is a tremendous amount of exciting work going on, there are very few easy places to demonstrate it in action. Which is a shame because while XML is conceptually quite complex, its application is really very straightforward. The problem is that browser support is sketchy. For instance, the sample application that follows would work natively in Microsoft Internet Explorer 4, but not in Netscape Navigator 4. Navigator 5 has total XML support, but I'm not going to ask you to compile from alpha source code to see this demo. Support should be broad-based by late this year, which makes now an excellent time to get a grounding in the conceptual underpinnings of XML. This is an application of XML, albeit a simple one. It requires Java, so if it takes a while to load, just be patient (Warning: you'll download about 500 KB of data when you click that link -- Ed.). It's an application of an XML vocabulary developed by Microsoft for its push strategy introduced in Internet Explorer 4.0. It uses Pax Syntactica, a Java-based parsing engine developed by Datachannel Inc.'s Chief Architect John Tigue. I adapted the example from a sample application posted on Datachannel's site. I used Pax Syntactica because it provides one of the few readily available cross-platform cross-browser demonstrations of how XML works available today. There are lots of good uses for XML hidden back in a middle tier of a 3-tier client-server application, but that would lack the immediacy of this demo. We'll explore this and ways to directly render XML-structured documents in future articles.


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