A CALS Table Viewer for Visual Studio Code

Phil Fearon
CALS Tables (see ‘What are CALS Tables?’, below) are not easy to understand by looking at their XML source. At DeltaXML we have lots of CALS tables in our regression tests which we need to quickly visualise, especially if we need to understand exactly what went wrong in a failing test. These tables are embedded in a variety of source formats: DocBook, DITA, S1000D etc., and will often have DeltaXML change markup included in the table. We needed a quick way of visualising CALS tables from our test suite and so I used my ‘free sprint' time to write an XSLT-driven Visual Studio Code extension to do just that. We found it sped up our testing reviews significantly and we share it here in the hope that you will also find it a useful approach to viewing tables.

23 June 2022 Read

Parsing and refactoring FORTRAN code with XML

Philippe Marguinaud
In this article, Philippe Marguinaud explains how XML can be used to parse a language such as FORTRAN. The first big advantage over other existing approaches is that XML can represent both structure and hand-written content. The other benefit is that all power tools coming from the XML realm become instantly available for searching and editing the syntax tree. Eventually, the article shows how a FORTRAN syntax tree can be loaded in Firefox, using an XSL stylesheet.

31 May 2022 Read

Invisible XML

Norm Tovey-Walsh
Norm Tovey-Walsh introduces Invisible XML, a language for describing the implicit structure of data, and a set of technologies for making that structure explicit as XML markup.

1 March 2022 Read

Using GitHub for Collaborative XML Publishing

G. Ken Holman

Authoring a technical standard can distract from the development of the standard’s content. Equipping a standards committee effectively to satisfy the documentation obligation, without impacting on the technical development, benefits those involved and produces results faster.

And writing is not the only task. Assembling complex work products can be finicky, and so leveraging automation where possible produces results more consistently.

This case study shows how two OASIS technical committees collaboratively prepare documents for both OASIS and ISO submission.

The committees’ goals were to:

  • maximize the time developing technical content, which is why the members joined in the first place;
  • minimize the time spent formatting content twice to satisfy two sets of layout requirements;
  • automate the production of intricate committee deliverables; and
  • enable committee members to propose contributions to the editors in an efficient manner.

This case study illuminates the committees’ use of DocBook XML for authoring a single document to produce multiple layouts. Moreover, using XML provides options for generated content not readily available in other authoring environments.

Also illustrated is how the editing and publishing process is supported by using the git repository and GitHub hosting for collaborators to use to make their proposed contributions to the editors. Together with the online XML publishing service from Réalta, this equips members to preview their draft work in final-form PDF and HTML at any time. This frees members of the burden of supporting specialized, expensive publishing tools they may not otherwise need.

The end result for each committee is the hands-off production of complete work product deliverables including two different PDF layouts.

IMPORTANT: This essay is not intended to replace the more detailed README.md instructions for the technical committee members found in their respective git repositories. Rather than get bogged down in details, this essay is meant to introduce and overview the strategy of using git and GitHub for collaborative committee work.

Technical note

This monolithic HTML document includes embedded SVG graphic images that may not be visible on all browsers. The author has tested this file successfully on Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge, and Safari.

20 June 2021 Read

XPath 3: Conversations and Bridges

Liam Quin
XPath and the languages that use it - XSLT, XQuery, XForms, Schematron and many more - share with natural language that you can say things in many ways. XPath 3 adds new ways of saying things that can be both exciting and sometimes a little daunting. Let’s look at some new operators in XPath 3 and see how they can make things clearer and how to use them to write XPath expressions that are clearer and easier to read.

12 November 2020 Read

One Month of XML Slack

Adam Retter
The XML Slack channel has been available for a month and the community is growing. Adam Retter uses XQuery to show the most common topics of discussion.

17 May 2020 Read

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