IE XML Data Island Functionality in NS6+ Browsers - Form Elements Overlapping a Styled Layer | WebReference

IE XML Data Island Functionality in NS6+ Browsers - Form Elements Overlapping a Styled Layer

IE XML Data Island Functionality in NS6+ Browsers

What does Direct Approach Mean?

Direct approach means to open an XML file directly in the browser, such as typing the URL of the file in the browser's address/location bar.

NS and IE generation 6+ browsers have built-in style sheet processors that properly display files with the *.XML file extension.

The best part which is to notice in the approach is that you can include an XSL file in the XML document and the browser's XSL/XSLT processor will render the XML document according to the imported XSL/XSLT file.

This is a powerful tool in the hands of web developers, allowing them to use XML for data display and data presentation.

To show you how it works, we need:

The following XML file will be used in all of our exercises:
  <xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
Next, we'll create a table using XSL and apply it to this XML file, which will result in a table like the one below:

The difference between an ordinary XML file and one thats has XSLT file included, is one import statement, which might look like this:
    <?xml-stylesheet href="DOMXMLParsing.xml" type="text/xsl" encoding="ISO=8859-1"?>
The rest of the XML document remains the same as the XSLT file contains processing instructions to display the XML file in a given format.

What is XSL?

XSL (Etensible Stylesheet Language) XSL has the capabilities to manipulate a document beyond the limits of CSS and is divided into 3 distinct parts:
  1. XSLT - This language is used to transform an XML document into almost any other document.
  2. XPath - This is an expression language used by XSLT to refer to or access any part of an XML document.
  3. XSLT - This is an XML vocabulary used to specify semantics for formatting (I used it few years back to convert XML documents to PDF file).

In this exercise, we'll use XSLT/XPath to transform XML data in to HTML which can be rendered on any web browser.

Note: There are XSLT processors out there that can spit HTML when fed XML and XSLT files - Xalan is one of them).

To learn more about XSL/XSLT, please visit the W3C XSLT pages, (it's the best resource you can find for free...:-).

Further discussion on XSL is beyond the scope of this article, so we forward directly to actual example. Here, I've created an XSL file to display data in a table. The XML file is named employee_xsl_db.xml and the XSL file included in this XML file is named employee_db.xsl. Click here to view.

Now, we're ready to write a detailed cross browser (IE5+ and NS6+) solution that works perfectly.

Created: June 2, 2003
Revised: June 2, 2003