Archive for June, 2010

Style Sheets: XSL and CSS

While you are writing an essay in the computer or doing a web page, there are many things that you have to consider. Not only the content of the text but also things such as the format,  style,  colourtype… All that kind of things that make your essays or web pages have a better quality. There are some mechanisms that help you to improve your works, they are called Style Sheets. So, in a few words, Style Sheets describes you how is going to be shown your document in the screen or paper. In the past, we only took into account the content but, nowadays, we are saying that the content of the text and how it is shown are equally important.

Normally, we have in a  page the text and in another different page the things relationated to the style thanks to this our work becomes easier. Style sheets help many people. On the one hand, it helps to those people who create web pages. However, on the other hand, it also helps to those users who work with programs such as Microsoft Word or Openoffice. Style sheets are an essential part for markup languages. They are relationated with documents that use HTML, XML or XHTML. The most importan style sheets are CSS that means Cascada Styling Sheets and XSL abbreviation for Entensible Stylesheet Language.

One kind of Style Sheet

XSL has become very popular because it offers many operations.Moreover, it is formed by three different languages: XSLT (that allows you to change a document from XML to HTML), XSL-FO ( here you can specify the visual formatting of an XML document) and XPath. But, you may be asking how style sheets work. They have two parts . The first part consists in saying to the mechanism which part of the text is going to be edited and finally, on the second part , you apply to the properties the values wanted.

Finally, just encourage you to continue exploring in this world because will help you to save time and your works will improve quite a lot.

References:

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Syndication formats

You may have heared a lot about syndication formats. But do you know exactly what is a syndication format? or why people use it? Probably not. In the past, when we wanted to get information from our favourite site or blog, we would have to go to that specific site and see if it had new changes. However, nowadays, this is not going to happen any more thanks to names like RSS or Atom. Syndication formats say users if there have been changes in the sites in which they have subscribed.

They are very helpful and give us the opportunity to save a lot of time. Many people say that there is a clear relation between the creation of syndication formats and the fact that there were more and more blogs in the internet. There are a lot,  but the most important is called RSS that means Really Simple Syndication. Then, we also have RDF that means Resouce Description Framework and was created by Ramathan V. Guha.  We also have to talk about Atom that is said to be better than RSS. Many people say it has better applications and that one day everybody will use Atom instead of RSS. One of the persons that more defends  this statement is Benjamin Trott who has created many things such as TypePad.

These tool has not been always like we know it right now. It has suffered many changes to provide users a good service. For example,if we return to the past, there was a clear precedent of this kind of thechnology which was the technology “push and pull” . Now, it has changed a lot thaks to  readers like Google Reader, My Yahoo!,  newsgator, bloglines too. We can see the latest changes in all our favourites sites from this reader. The times when we had to surf from one site to another site have finished. Now is the other way round information go to us.

 

Finally, I would like to say that we can increase the quality of our blogs by putting RSS feeds from other sites related to our blog. If we do that, there will be more information about the same thing connected. RSS is very useful and not only can we communicate better now but also get more information faster. There is a link of a video in the references which I highly recommend because explain very well everything about syndication formats.

References:

Markup languages

Nowadays, the world of computers and edition is changing a lot. It is difficult to follow their rhythm  and we sometimes feel confused. That is why we are going to introduce a bit into this world explaining some markup languages and their characteristics. For instance, these languages are used by users to communicate with computers. For example, while you are doing a document there are many things that you have to consider such as  the format, style… It is thanks to markup languages that computers know how you exactly want to present the document or text.

There are many markup languages and every single one is used for different purposes. Moreover, they are used in the edition and communication industries by authors, editors and printers. TeX, LaTeX, HTML, SGML, troff are some of the most important. TeX was created by Donald Knuth and it is very popular in the academic industry. Specially, mathematicians, physicists and technicians like it. It is said that is better than troff. However, it must be said that both TeX and troff can only be used in Unix which is a software whose aim is to be the channel between the hardware and the programs used by computers users.

Another important markup language is LaTeX written by  the engineer Leslie Lamport. Normally, it is used for creating books and scientific documents which have mathematic technicalities. LaTeX has many TeX macros that allow to analyze a complex instruction by analyzing first easy instructions. Macros are extemely important in markup languages. 

Leslie Lamport

In conclusion, our use of computers will not be the same without the existance of these languages. Our work is more easy thanks to them. Imagine editing a book without the help of a markup language, itwould be like a nightmare and we would have to work a lot for finishing the work. I completely admire persons like Leslie Lamport or Donald Knuth who have managed to make our lives easier.

References:


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