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Part: VI Building a Web Site > Using XML to Describe Data

Hour 23. Using XML to Describe Data

Throughout the first 22 hours of this book, I have made reference to eXtensible Markup Language or XML. In many cases, you were told that all would be made clear in Hour 23. Well, you have continued on, so now it is time for me to live up to those promises. As you read through this hour, you will no doubt be surprised at how easy XML is to use and how well it integrates into the structure of Web design.

One point must be made up front: The example of reading the data of an XML file uses an ActiveX object, so it will only work directly in IE 5.0 or later. However, this does not detract from the basic point of extracting the data from an XML file and displaying it in a Web page. Since later versions of Netscape can run ActiveX objects, it could be run provided you first make sure the control is available.

In this hour, you will first learn what a metalanguage is in the context of building a language and that XML is an example of a metalanguage. The basic structure of an XML file will follow, including ways to include rules that the data must follow. Finally, an example of how to extract data from an XML file and display it in a Web page is presented.


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