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XML Authoring Tool Technology: XML Authoring Tool Technology

XSLT Rule Generation Tool: XSLbyDemo


XSLbyDemo is a technology for generating XSLT rules on the basis of editing operations conducted under the WYSIWYG mode of Page Designer, which is a full-fledged HTML authoring tool provided with IBM WebSphere Studio. The remarkable feature of XSLbyDemo is that users can create XSLT rules automatically solely on the basis of the knowledge of HTML editing. The users do not have to know anything about the syntax/programming of XSLT, and need not be aware the rule generation process, which happens behind the HTML authoring in the WYSIWYG mode. The users are thus allowed to concentrate on the styling of the HTML document, relying on the Page Designer's full capabilities for HTML and CSS authoring. XSLbyDemo finally produces XSLT rules that transform a given HTML document to a desired document obtained as results of the WYSIWYG authoring [Koyanagi 2001] [Ono 2002].

Scenario from a naive HTML document

The following descriptions explain an idea of the WYSIWYG generation of XSLT rules, and introduce scenarios of the XSLT rule generation by using XSLbyDemo. It must be noted here that the look and feel of this WYSIWYG editor is exactly the same as in the original HTML authoring tool, except for the "REC" (recording) button that appears in the upper-left corner of Figure 1. The recording button is used to start and stop recording user's operations. While the toggle button remains depressed (as shown in Figure 1), the user's operations are recorded. And then the button returns to the normal state, the recording stops and XSLT rules are immediately created for the executed transformation.

Figure 1: WYSIWYG editing by HTML authoring tool
A screenshot of a font dialog operation under recording

With a naive (less stylized) HTML document, users can start refining the HTML document to come up with a stylized document, by using full-fledged capabilities of the WYSIWYG HTML editor. Note that the initial HTML documents need to be a well-formed documents, since the initial documents are taken as inputs to an XSLT processor. The concept of well-formedness basically means that elements, delimited by their start and end tags, are nested properly within one another.

While working in the recording mode of XSLbyDemo, user's editing actions are recorded into the operation history, and passed to a module of XSLbyDemo. When the user finishes the editing, the rule generator of XSLbyDemo creates XSLT rules that allow transformation from the given HTML document to a customized HTML document at hand (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Creation of XSLT rules for the stylization of HTML documents
Scenario from a naive HTML document

XSLT rules generated by XSLbyDemo are used for the transformation from naive HTML documents to stylized HTML documents. A typical scenario with XSLbyDemo is to create XSLT rules for customizing HTML documents. However, such XSLT rules can also be used for HTML rendering from XML documents. The next section explains another scenario of XSLbyDemo usage.

Scenario from an XML document

The distinguished advantage of XSLbyDemo is that users can generate XSLT rules automatically without knowing anything about the syntax/programming of XSLT. It comes from the feature of XSLbyDemo, which create XSLT rules as the results of WYSIWYG authoring of HTML documents. However, it is the limitation of XSLbyDemo that the way of XSLT rule generation can be done for the transformation between the same document type definition (i.e. HTML). Regardless of this limitation, XSLbyDemo can be used for the XSLT rule generation in the case of starting from an XML document, and provide substantial help for the users to create XSLT rules (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Creation of XSLT rules for the presentation of XML document
Scenario from an XML document

With an XML document, users need to start from an initial transformation, which converts the given XML document to a naive HTML document. It must be noted that the first transformation should be done solely for the document type conversion rather than for dealing with the details of the styling matters. Taking the naive HTML document as a document for starting the stylization, users can open the HTML document in the WYSIWYG HTML editor, and create XSLT rules for the customization in the same manner as the case of starting from a naive HTML document as depicted in Figure 2.

For the further details of XSLbyDemo, please refer to "XSLbyDemo Tutorial" included in the XSLbyDemo package, which can be downloaded from IBM alphaWorks.

[Koyanagi 2001]
T. Koyanagi, K. Ono, and M. Hori: Demonstrational Interface for XSLT Stylesheet Generation. Markup Languages: Theory & Practice, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 133-152 (2001/05).
[Ono 2002]
K. Ono, T. Koyanagi, M. Abe, and M. Hori: XSLT stylesheet generation by example with WYSIWYG editing. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Applications and the Internet (SAINT 2002), Nara, Japan (2002/03).

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Last modified 10 Jan. 2002