This week we learned how to use XSLT to leverage XML data in
your web applications. In this lab, you
will use this knowledge to manipulate XML that you extract from your database.
In future labs, you will then use XSLT to exploit other kinds of XML.
- Copy your Lab04 files (or Lab05, if you continued
your theme in Lab05) to a new Lab06 directory. Your main file should still
be called index.html
Here is what you what you want
to have when you are finished. Suggested
plan of attach for getting there is below (read
it before you start!):
- Deadline for
waivers: If you think that a particular detail of this lab should be
modified for you, because you can achieve the same educational objective
in a different way that works better with your theme, you must request a waiver,
via email, before the end of the
lab period when this lab is started. State clearly why an exception
should be made and what you propose instead. You can talk to the instructor first,
but it must be finalized via email.
Firefox will sometimes cache old versions of the files you use
(especially your sample XML and your XSL files). If things aren’t working right, try
this: Tools->Clear Recent
History. Select “Everything” for
time range. Click to open the
details (if necessary) then select just “Cache” and click “Clear
Now”. This is likely to happen to you, so make note of this issue!!!
Everything from previous labs should still work.
Per your feedback, this will NOT be required – you just need enough
working to demonstrate the functionality described below. Note that this will include the ability
to insert things into your database from your web page.
- There should be a button or something to
click or interact with such that when you click the following
- You use AJAX, which invokes a Perl (PHP okay)
script to query your DB. Synchronous AJAX is okay.
- The Perl returns a XML document (see details
below. You do not actually
save this file, just use “print” from Perl). Namespaces are not required
for this XML (but you can use if you like).
- You transform that XML with XSLT (see details
- You display part of the transformed XML in your
- All of this should happen within your original
index.html (e.g. the URL up top should not change)
- The details of the XML produced by your DB are up
to you. It should however at a minimum contain:
- Results for at least 3 distinct “things” (e.g.
people, products, events) (including all items from your DB is okay too)
- Contain at least 2 distinct attributes or
sub-elements “about” each thing (e.g., if your “thing” is a person, then
the name and company of each person would each count here).
- Adding new results to the DB (using your existing
functionality) should cause the XML result to change (e.g., if you add a
new person, that person should appear in the XML produced).
- The details of the XSLT transformation are up to
you. It should however at a
- Do some re-orderings (e.g. not display things in
exactly the same order as the XML file)
- Insert some HTML markup
- Contains results for at least 3 distinct “things”
- Show the info from at least 2 distinct
attributes/elements “about” each thing
- Your XSLT should not be too similar to the given
- For testing and grading purposes, you must make
(and keep around) two test files. You must keep this up to date if you
change your XML later!
- test1.xml – sample XML in exactly the same format that your Perl program produces.
- test2.xml – identical to test1.xml, except it has the line in it
that causes the browser to transform it with your XSL file before
displaying the results.
- As always, your code must be commented!
- On your default.htm page, provide some instructions
for a user (e.g. the instructor) on how to use your site. This should be specific to this lab –
e.g. how can I see that your site meets the requirements for this lab?
For instance, what exactly to click, what to enter, etc. Don’t assume
that the user will have any idea what movies, people, things, etc. your
system knows about.
- On your default.htm page, have the following links:
- Link to test1.xml
- Link to test2.xml
- Link to invoke to your Perl file that
generates the XML. Provide arguments (if necessary) – so if you click on
this link, you should see XML appear in the browser, and the XML should
be in the same format as test1.xml and test2.xml (it’s
okay if the data is a little different).
- Suggested plan of attack (see also helpful info at
- Do NOT follow
the requirements above in order. Instead…
- First create the dummy XML file (test1.xml) that
approximates what you WANT to produce from your database. You do not
have to have namespaces in this file.
- Verify that test1.xml is valid by loading it in a browser.
A complaint about namespaces is okay, but it should be rendered as valid
- Create your XSLT file. Suggestion: start with the
“Example 0.5” XSL from the online example page.
- COPY test1.xml to test2.xml. Now test your XSLT file by
adding the appropriate line to your test2.xml XML file (not test1.xml)
and loading it in a browser.
test1.xml), apply the XSLT to it, then insert
some of the result in your page. Note: test2.xml will not work here
because of the processing instruction that you added to it! Note: for
- Once all that works, then write the Perl code to
actually produce real XML based on querying your DB. Test this script alone
via the browser! (you want to ensure a.) the script runs b.) it produces valid XML)
generated XML from the Perl script (instead of using the static XML).
- Make sure that the user can add content to the
database and have that content show up in the results of the transformed
- Write the default.htm instructions
- In default.htm, add the links to test1.xml,
test2.xml, and to invoke Perl to generate XML (see details in
- Important:: go back and check that
- test1.xml and test2.xml have identical content (only
differ in a processing instruction)
- test1.xml and test2.xml match the XML format
produced by your Perl program
- test1.xml renders as valid XML in the browser
- test2.xml shows the transformed result (e.g.
changed by XSLT) when loaded in the browser
Ensure your page works with Firefox. Having it work on
IE is encouraged but not required.
Ensure all your pages validate and that you have met
NOTE: all HTML files must validate as XHTML without errors
for full credit. The penalty for a file that does not validate is 10%.
- See the plan of attack above!
- For problems with perl, see
tips about creating Perl files.
- As always, the “Error Console” in Firefox is
- On the command line, database errors will usually
appear automatically. From the
browser, they won’t – instead insert this as a debug:
- CREATE TABLE comments (USER_NAME
VARCHAR(20), TIMESTAMP DATETIME, COMMENT MEDIUMTEXT, PAGE INTEGER);
- INSERT INTO comments
(USER_NAME, TIMESTAMP, COMMENT, PAGE) VALUES ('Jamie', '2006-09-27
11:30:00', 'hi', 2);
- CREATE TABLE topics
(TOPIC VARCHAR(20), OWNER VARCHAR(20));
- INSERT INTO topics
(TOPIC, OWNER) VALUES ('Cars', ‘Jamie’);
- Note: ID is
automatically created with the table, no need to specify it.
- Do not use
the die() function alone – the error it generates
can’t be seen from your web page.
All of your files for Lab06 should be in a folder
called "Lab06" (without the quotes) on the Web drive.
Your main page for Lab06 should be called
"index.html" (without the quotes) and placed inside the folder Lab01.
All files must be complete and saved to your Web drive
before you submit the hardcopy of your assignment. Do NOT modify your files
after you have submitted your assignment.
Turn in the following hardcopy on or before the due
date, stapled together in the following order (coversheet on top):
A completed assignment coversheet. Your comments will help us improve the
The first page of the output of the W3C validator, as run on the final version of your
Lab06/index.html. This should show that
your document correctly validated, but turn it in anyway if you can’t get your
page to validate.
A printout of the source to your Lab06/index.html file (not the rendered
page that you normally see with Internet Explorer/Firefox). Truncated lines are not acceptable – use
Crimson Editor vice Notepad if needed for printing. You could also paste into Microsoft Word etc.
does the transformation and insertion is acceptable if you wish.
Printout of your Perl/PHP file that generates XML.
Printout of test2.xml
Printout of your XSL file