The pointy edge of XML


I’m getting fed up with this new bug I’ve experienced on WordPress. Every so often when I save a post I get a confirm screen that thinks it’s smarter than I am. It keeps asking me to reaffirm my decision never taking me back to my rough draft and ultimately losing my work! I’ve had arguments with confirm screens before but never like this.

Confirm screen: Are you sure you want to do this?

Me: Yes.

Confirm screen: Are you sure you want to do this?

Me: Yes!

Confirm screen: Are you sure you want to do this?

Me: Well maybe not since you put it that way. Let me think I moment… yes!!

Confirm screen: Are you sure you want to do this?

Me: I’m not quite so sure now. Let me go back and make sure my work is still there. Crap! What did you do to my work??!!

Confirm screen: Are you sure you want to do this?

Me: I didn’t do it! You did, yuh doggone stoopid confirm screen!!

Confirm screen: Are you sure you want to do this?

Me: Stop making it look like my fault. I didn’t do anything but ask you to save my work for me!

Confirm screen: Are you sure you want to do this?

Me: Yes!!! (Tears flowing.)

Confirm screen: Are you sure you want to do this?

Me: Aww, c’mon! Yes!!!! (voice cracking…)

Confirm screen: Are you sure you want to do this?

(Co-workers stop by looking concerned at my flustered situation yet puzzled about my arguing with an HTML page.)

That has nothing to do with XML pointy edges but I had to get it out of my system before I lose it. Regarding XML… I’ve been hard at work trying to fit my XML marshaller into our existing application with moderate success. I’ve also been trying to get a leg up on writing a transform for the final output of my big idea. I’ll then need to write a transform to produce the transform. All of this has me up to my ears in XML pointy edges. I swear I can see those angle brackets embedded in the lines on the highway now. I had a dream the other day I was being speared by an XML comment then I woke up in a semi-sleep state and started trying to figure out how to run my two year old daughter through a stylesheet. (That happens frequently as I ponder what she will look like on the receiving stream. Could her night time cries be converted to a Brian McKnight smooth jam?) While I still wait for an easier suggestion to my project I am becoming more and more convinced that I am headed down the right path.

My requirements are clear. I need to re-engineer that part of our app that lets users change the way orders are printed. More specifically it uses a series of tables to define formats for printed orders. Users need very fine grained control over the outcome of the printed documents down to the level of specifying how many characters (or in my new approach, millimeters, pixels, or points) to the right a section of text is to print. Without creating a report designer I have to create a report designer. (…and without touching my wife’s clothes I have to wash all of our laundry.) What I can’t get over is how un-easy (can I get away with that word?) it is to start an XSL-FO stylesheet from scratch. I have an idea what I want the output to look like but to paint a picture using XSLT, FO, and a blanks sheet of paper is darn tough! So now I take advantage of my earlier de-railment from the project. I install Altova products on my XP virtual machine. Pretty cool! I no longer have to reboot to do that and I can take advantage of some of the licenses I heard we have floating around our office. I’m trying to use Stylevision to paint the finished output and generate an XSL-FO stylesheet to produce it. I’ll then write a stylesheet in XMLSpy to produce the stylesheet that produces the output. (Now if I could just piece together a man to piece together the parts of my house that are falling apart I’d be in good shape!) This is one of those complicated things that I wish didn’t have to be so complicated but I can’t see how to uncomplicate it so I just make it more complicated. That’s easy to understand right? Now that you see why I’m on the pointy edge of things and how it’s affecting me why don’t you hit me with some science, cousin…

(While the author ackonwledges he is not direct related to you the reader and does not expect to be pummeled with test tubes, you are encouraged to leave a enlighteningcomment or any positive feedback that you deem appropriate.)

2 thoughts on “The pointy edge of XML

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