24 ways to impress your friends

24 ways to impress your friends site

So I've been pretty quiet about 24ways to impress your friends this year. The reason why is because I've been writing a tip titled Making XML beautiful again to go into the 24ways collection for 2006. The tip centres around a client side XSL transformation on a ATOM feed. I thought this would be simplier that RSS because I would have to create templates to support RSS 0.91, 0.92, 1.0 and 2.0. ATOM 1.0 feeds are also very much a like so a safe ground to start on (although a lot of ATOM 0.3 feeds use a different date element).

The actual XSL took me all of about 5mins to write but the explaining took a good few weeks. I have spell checked it, grammer checked and run it past the eyes of Sheila (my XSL friend). Sheila helped a lot on making it sound less like me talking and more like me writing, but there is still bits of my twisted humour in there. I also wanted to explain the difference between client-side and server-side transformations but decided it was out of scope. As was spending 3 paragraphs on what XSL is, which I finally cut down to 1. There is also something else which has been bugging me while writing the tip. Firefox 2.0, I can not work out if its actually broken when it comes to client side transformations or not. Some people seem to think so, but I'm getting just odd results like the output escaping not working. I've tried to install Firefox 1.5 in a Virtual Machine but I can't get it online (for many reasons). So I'm currently loading up a old Ubuntu Boot CD on a spare machine. I'm sure the comments will come flooding in soon.

Anyway big thanks to Drew McLellan for thinking about me when relaunching the 24ways project this year. Maybe Drew took it to heart when (in a good way of course) I asked why he didn't use XSL for parsing Microformats at BarCampLondon. I was still amazed he used a non rules based language to parse Microformats. It shows talent. Thanks again Drew, I just hope it comes across as well, as the other excellent authors on 24ways..

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.