Welcome!

Industrial IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, Stackify Blog, Yeshim Deniz, SmartBear Blog, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Industrial IoT

Industrial IoT: Article

Switching Document Views

Switching Document Views

Complex technical documentation presented on the Internet calls for user interfaces or navigational options that empower readers to quickly gain access to the information that suits their needs. If your readers are viewing documents in an Internet Explorer-only environment, you can let them select the level of detail that will be displayed by combining XML, XSLT, script, and methods of the Document Object Model.

The transformNode() method of the DOM, in particular, enables you to dynamically apply different XSL stylesheets to the same XML source document, producing different views of the same document at the click of a button.

The simple XML document in Listing 1 is structured into a hierarchy of topics with IBM's Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA), a DTD for creating modular documentation. (For more on DITA, see www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/xml/.) The document in Listing 1 can be displayed using a single XSLT stylesheet by embedding the xml:stylesheet processing instruction after the XML version processing instruction, as this code shows:

<?xml version="1.0" standalone="yes"?>
<?xml:stylesheet type="text/xsl" href=
"listing2.xsl"?>

When an XML document with an xml:stylesheet processing instruction is loaded into Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher, it's formatted according to the template rules in the stylesheet. (Because the example stylesheets in this article conform to the W3C's XSLT Recommendation while the MSXML parser with which Internet Explorer 5 is natively equipped does not, you must have installed at least version 3 of the MSXML parser and be running it in replace mode for the code to work. You can obtain the latest version of the MSXML parser at http://msdn.microsoft.com and install it in a few minutes.)

Because the xml:stylesheet processing instruction can apply only one stylesheet to the document, it limits readers to the view prescribed by the stylesheet named listing3.xsl. The reader, however, may prefer to view only a certain level of the document's detail. Some readers, for instance, may want to read only an abstract, others an abridged view, and still others the entire piece. You can use a scripting language that supports the DOM to dynamically apply different stylesheets to an XML source document, thereby allowing readers to switch among various views of the same Web page with the press of a button.

A W3C specification, the DOM is a platform- and language-neutral interface that provides programs and scripts with the means to dynamically access and modify the content, structure, and style of documents, including those in HTML, XHTML, and XML format. For details, see the W3C's DOM page at www.w3.org/DOM/.

The transformNode Method
It's the DOM's transformNode method that lets you dynamically apply XSLT stylesheets to an XML document. If you create two instances of the DOM's Document object and load the XML source into one of them and the XSL stylesheet into the other, you can then use the stylesheet to transform the XML source by invoking the transformNode() method.

The syntax of the transformNode() method, which is available in ASP, JScript, Visual Basic, and VBScript, goes like this:

strResult = objXMLNode.transformNode
(objStylesheet)

The objXMLNode typically takes a DOM Document object, though it can also take a node and its children within a DOM Document. The objStylesheet is usually a DOM Document instance containing a valid XSL stylesheet. The strResult, which is a string that contains the results of the XSLT transformation, can then be put into an HTML document by, for example, creating a <div id="results"></div> tag, setting a reference to it, and then using the innerHTML method to insert the string results.

Using TransformNode() to Switch Stylesheets
I've written two basic stylesheets for my source document:

  • Listing 2 displays the first level of nested topics, giving readers a summary of sorts.
  • Listing 3 displays the document's entire contents.
To enable a user with IE5 or higher running at least version 3 of the MSXML parser to select the level of detail of the document to be viewed, you'll first need to use script to load both the XML source file and the default XSLT stylesheet into the MSXML parser. The page will then have to provide users with a means to toggle between the different views while the script, when activated by a button pressed by the user, presents the document after it's transformed by the other stylesheet.

The script, which is embedded in an HTML page, appears in Listing 4, which can be downloaded at www.sys-con.com/xml/sourcec.cfm. A similar version of this script, replete with debugging logic, is available in Michael Kay's XSLT Programmer's Reference (Wrox), a book that covers XSLT in full and provides an excellent rundown of how to use XML and XSLT with Internet Explorer as well as an insightful discussion of the different versions of the MSXML parser.

After the HTML page in Listing 4 loads, the onLoad attribute of the <body> tag triggers the script's function and displays the contents of the document using the default stylesheet in Listing 2.

<body onLoad="transformPage
('listing2.xsl')">

The HTML page presents the user with two buttons, each of which specifies a different stylesheet to be used as the stylesheet parameter in the script's transformPage function without sending a request back to the server:

<button onClick=
"transformPage('listing3.xsl')">
View Entire Document</button>
<button onClick="transformPage
('listing2.xsl')">View Summary
</button>

When a user selects one of the buttons, the stylesheet specified in the argument of transformPage function is applied to the XML document and the results are inserted inside the <div id="results"> tag.

This is just a sample of what can be done when you combine XML, XSLT, script, and methods of the DOM. If you're displaying complex documentation on the Web, such methods can be expanded to develop potent interfaces that give users the power to quickly find the information that suits their needs.

More Stories By Steve Hoenisch

Steve Hoenisch is a technical writer (consultant) with Verizon
Wireless. Before becoming a technical writer and a Web developer, he
worked as a journalist and teacher. Steve has been developing Web
sites since 1996.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
The deluge of IoT sensor data collected from connected devices and the powerful AI required to make that data actionable are giving rise to a hybrid ecosystem in which cloud, on-prem and edge processes become interweaved. Attendees will learn how emerging composable infrastructure solutions deliver the adaptive architecture needed to manage this new data reality. Machine learning algorithms can better anticipate data storms and automate resources to support surges, including fully scalable GPU-c...
Machine learning has taken residence at our cities' cores and now we can finally have "smart cities." Cities are a collection of buildings made to provide the structure and safety necessary for people to function, create and survive. Buildings are a pool of ever-changing performance data from large automated systems such as heating and cooling to the people that live and work within them. Through machine learning, buildings can optimize performance, reduce costs, and improve occupant comfort by ...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
As IoT continues to increase momentum, so does the associated risk. Secure Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) is ranked as one of the most important technology areas of IoT. Driving this trend is the realization that secure support for IoT devices provides companies the ability to deliver high-quality, reliable, secure offerings faster, create new revenue streams, and reduce support costs, all while building a competitive advantage in their markets. In this session, we will use customer use cases...