CIT 597 Assignment 3: XSL-Based Browser Helper
Fall 2003, David Matuszek

Purposes of the assignment:

Idea of the assignment:

You have already extracted some minimal information from an HTML page on the Web and used it to create, or add to, an HTML page on your local disk. Subsequently, you modified this program to collect this same information into an XML document, with CSS to control presentation of the information. The XML format provides the information in a format that is more useful to the computer, but less useful to a human--for one thing, the XML does not contain hyperlinks recognized by most browsers.

The object of this assignment is to write an XSL "program" that reads an existing XML file and produces a corresponding HTML file. In this way, you can have the advantages of both.

You might think that this setup is more awkward for the human user, who has to not only use the new Browser Helper, but also run the XSL in order to get the results into a readable format. Not so. You need to write only one XSL file that applies to any file produced by the Browser Helper; when you go to look at that file in a browser, the browser does all the work of applying the XSL to the XML.

It is a fact of life that program requirements change. As your user, it annoys me when I find a page with possibly outdated information that does not include a date. That date may be hidden in the HTTP header information, but it is not visible on the page itself. For this assignment, I've decided that I want not only all the functionality of the first Browser Helper assignment, but I also want to know the modification date of each of the files that I bookmark. This information should be displayed in the Browser Helper GUI and should be saved in the XML file. (Be careful--Do something sensible if the modification date isn't in the header.)

What you need to do:

Modify your Browser Helper from Assignment 2 to:

Write a .xsl file to convert your XML files into attractive HTML files. Display the modification date along with a clickable hyperlink for each page you bookmark with the Browser Helper.

Test your XML files (with XSL formatting) in at least Internet Explorer and Netscape/Mozilla.

Due date:

Wednesday, October 1, before midnight. Turn in a zipped set of files via Blackboard.