Simon Willison’s Weblog


Sunday, 16th June 2002

Elm0 suggests libxml

Elm0 has suggested a solution to my XHTML validation woes in a thread on WMHub. He suggests using libxml to validate new entries against a DTD, via PHP’s exec() function. It looks like xmllint is just the command line tool I need—if only I could get it to compile on the University server. I’m getting “out of space” errors which is strange as I have over 10MB left on my account, so I’ll assume for the moment that it’s a problem with the server and try again in a few days.

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Excited about XWT

New toy: XWT, the XML Windowing Toolkit. This is one impressive piece of open source software. It allows you to create a graphical user interface using relatively simple XML markup (with ECMAScript to define interactivity). Your application can then be executed using a browser plugin, implemented as an ActiveX component on IE and a Java applet everywhere else. The idea is not to write whole applications in XWT, but to create server side applications and provide a client side GUI using the toolkit. Both SOAP and XML-RPC are supported for communicating between client and server.

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University of Blogaria

Apparently the University of Blogaria was founded on the principle that the ideal university would have no students to contaminate the educational process (Jonathan Delacour). The only way in is to earn a position on the faculty, which no doubt requires slightly more than four days of blogging. Thank goodness their courses (or at least the benefits of their wisdom) are freely available to all.

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Jonathan on Mark

Jonathan has meta-blogged (I think that’s the term) responses to Mark Pilgrim’s accessiblity series. He replies to my query about the wisdom of limiting the series to bloggers rather than expanding it to cover as much as possible:

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My first XHTML mind bomb

I’ve been looking at PHP’s XML handling functions (in particular the xml_parse() function) and I’ve suddenly realised the advantages of writing entries in valid XHTML. Before I started this blog one of the features I considered adding was something that can pull all of the links out of an entry when it is submitted and index them or add them to a directory somewhere. I was preparing myself for some regular expression hacking, but thanks to XHTML this is now completely unnecessary. All I need to do is define a couple of handlers to deal with <a> tags and Expat will do the hard work for me. In fact, this approach gives me a great deal of flexibility in what I do with my entries. I can extract quotes and blockquotes, pick up on emphasized text and generally allow my blog software to “understand” my entries as and when I add them. The true benefits of XHTML have suddenly become clear.

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Fixed validation again

The road to validity is frought with peril. I’ve just fixed another small group of errors that were preventing this page from validating (after spotting the ominous W3C validator in today’s user-agent logs). This time is was a couple of forgotten </p> tags and an unescaped ampersand.

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2002 » June