Task: XML and XSL Layout Framework for HTML
Web pages tend to have certain abstract structures that are rendered in
HTML -- logo, banners, global links, local navigational links, "breadcrumbs,"
etc. The weakness of HTML is that there are no semantics for describing
these parts of the pages distinctly from each other because HTML is purely
a presentational language. However, with XML we have the ability
to define any XML semantics that we like and write XSL that transforms
the XML into whatever HTML we like.
Therefore, we have the ability to specify a page layout using abstract
XML semantics and to render web pages in any way that we want through the
XSL. The theory here is that the same XML file could be rendered
in any style of web page that we want by simply changing the XSL used to
translate the XML to HTML.
There will be ongoing work in this area of the BASICS web site project.
The tasks can be summarized as follows:
Define an abstract XML language that describes the parts of a web page.
The XML language should avoid specifying any particular layout, although
it is acceptable to define XML tags for certain kinds of "widgets".
An example is the "title box".
Implement XSL transformations that translate the XML into HTML.
Make sure the XSL produces HTML that works on both Netscape and Internet
Look for opportunities to use CSS instead of hard-coding colors, sizes,
etc. Defining CSS style classes is part of this activity of developing
a layout framework for HTML.
Produce documentation explaining how to use the XML tags that have been
developed and have XSL support.