primarily by Jon Bosak as a way to make working with information delivered
over the Web easier. Then in 1998, XML was standardized by the World Wide
Web Consortium (W3C), the international standards body for the Web.
Since its beginnings, the Web has used HyperText Markup Language (HTML)
to display content. HTML documents are stored on Web servers and then
sent on demand to a Web browser, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or
Netscape Navigator. The browser then displays the HTML as a Web page.
Figure 1-1 illustrates this process.
HTML comes up short
HTML has become so wildly popular largely because its very easy to learn
and work with; heck, even my 7-year-old can create a Web page using
Microsoft FrontPage, and my 9-year-old can write HTML by hand. The markup
language was originally designed purely as a way to format and lay out infor-
mation. However, because people have wanted to use the Web for nearly
every task under the sun, HTML has been forced to do far more than was
Consider a familiar scenario: A company wants to put information stored in a
database onto its Web site. A sampling of its data might look something like
Sample Customer Database
Part I: Getting Started with XSLT