David Carlisle | 1 Dec 01:05 2007
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XML entity definitions for characters


People using DTD entity declarations may be interested in a combined set
(any names previously defined in xhtml, mathml or ISO entity sets) being
drafted at http://www.w3.org/2003/entities/
The editor's draft there has no offical standing but hopefully it can be
submitted as a W3C Working Draft before long. (Essentially it's the old
MathML chapter 6, made into a self standing document, and enlarged to
include more entity sets.)  One reason for doing this now is that the
new Unicode 5.1.0 Beta release finally has suitable characters to act as
target for all the ISO entities.

Some more discussion here:

http://dpcarlisle.blogspot.com/2007/11/xml-entities-definitions-for-characters.html

comments welcome....

David

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bryan rasmussen | 1 Dec 21:41 2007
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editing XML with Spreadsheets, most likely Excel

Hi,

I know lots of people on this list have had some experience editing
generating XML with Excel or other spreadsheet technologies, I've some
slight knowledge of it as it is the technique used in UBL to
edit/generate schemas. I never much cared for it as I thought it made
the XML structures harder to understand. I was wondering if anyone had
any specific things they like about the method, things they hate? What
are the limits to numbers of files that can be edited in one
spreadsheet, if for example one has related files in a particular
worksheet?

Cheers,
Bryan Rasmussen

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Stephen Green | 1 Dec 23:08 2007
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Re: editing XML with Spreadsheets, most likely Excel

Hi Bryan

One challenge with transforming from, say, ODF spreadsheet table with
XSLT (such as with an XML Filter) is getting around the merging of empty
cells in a row. This means that there is a need to calculate the physical
location within the row of the logical cell where the data you need is held.
It is doable though, even with straight XSLT 1.0 and the result is satisfactory.

You need not just stick to XML output; CSV or fixed width files are other
options where relevant. I've not tried this with UBL instances or schemas
but got close to it once and it is an interesting project as far as I remember.

Having standard locations for the UBL business entities in the spreadsheet
a bit like the way UN standardized layouts for paper printing or invoices,
etc would help a lot for UBL instances. For UBL schema files there is a
'standard' layout for the business entity data and metadata already - well
two standards: UBL's and CEFACT's - so transformation from spreadsheet
to standard (NDR) schema is relatively straightforward, helped by the 'all
global' NDR (Naming and Design Rules). I remember there being a few
challenges to using XSLT which led to scripting languages being used
in preference to XSLT.

I'd say it is a satisfying way to get to an XML document if you have time
and patience to overcome the challenges.

I've tried Infopath too with Excel and found challenges there with the
complexity of, say, UBL (with many multiple occurrence complex types).
Again the amount of work involved seems only to be warranted if there
is stability in the spreadsheet layout. I thought it more useful to use XSLT
with the underlying XML of the spreadsheet when the spreadsheet layout
(Continue reading)

Stephen Green | 1 Dec 23:30 2007
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Re: editing XML with Spreadsheets, most likely Excel

An afterthought:
I've not tried it but maybe, if you use XSLT to create XML output from
the underlying XML of the spreadsheet, prior to the transformation, a
validation step could use Schematron. I found that with the app I was
using there was no output of a message from the xsl:message but
there was implementation of the xsl:message's 'terminate' which might
be enough perhaps. On the other hand I've merely used a macro for
validation of the spreadsheet prior to transformation to the output file
and it works well enough if the macro puts a result string somewhere
where the XSLT of the transformation can pick it up as a precondition
to the transformation. It's all very cool in my opinion, one of the nicer
fruits of all the excellent XML work of so many people - many thanks All.

On 01/12/2007, Stephen Green <stephengreenubl <at> gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Bryan
>
> One challenge with transforming from, say, ODF spreadsheet table with
> XSLT (such as with an XML Filter) is getting around the merging of empty
> cells in a row. This means that there is a need to calculate the physical
> location within the row of the logical cell where the data you need is held.
> It is doable though, even with straight XSLT 1.0 and the result is satisfactory.
>
> You need not just stick to XML output; CSV or fixed width files are other
> options where relevant. I've not tried this with UBL instances or schemas
> but got close to it once and it is an interesting project as far as I remember.
>
> Having standard locations for the UBL business entities in the spreadsheet
> a bit like the way UN standardized layouts for paper printing or invoices,
> etc would help a lot for UBL instances. For UBL schema files there is a
> 'standard' layout for the business entity data and metadata already - well
(Continue reading)

Dave Pawson | 2 Dec 09:36 2007
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Re: editing XML with Spreadsheets, most likely Excel

Stephen Green wrote:
> An afterthought:
> I've not tried it but maybe, if you use XSLT to create XML output from
> the underlying XML of the spreadsheet,

I used that method regularly. Spreadsheet entered in MS excel,
import into Open Office, save. Unzip the xml and process.
The empty cells weren't a problem. The information is present
to 'expand' them to make a complete matrix. Expand to a variable
then process in the normal way.

Note it was 'regular' data though.

regards

--

-- 
Dave Pawson
XSLT XSL-FO FAQ.
http://www.dpawson.co.uk

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Stephen Green | 2 Dec 09:52 2007
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Re: editing XML with Spreadsheets, most likely Excel

Plus you can automate it all for hundreds of documents using
Ant/Ant Contrib or an Open Office macro. Works very nicely.

On 02/12/2007, Dave Pawson <davep <at> dpawson.co.uk> wrote:
> Stephen Green wrote:
> > An afterthought:
> > I've not tried it but maybe, if you use XSLT to create XML output from
> > the underlying XML of the spreadsheet,
>
>
> I used that method regularly. Spreadsheet entered in MS excel,
> import into Open Office, save. Unzip the xml and process.
> The empty cells weren't a problem. The information is present
> to 'expand' them to make a complete matrix. Expand to a variable
> then process in the normal way.
>
>
> Note it was 'regular' data though.
>
>
> regards
>
> --
> Dave Pawson
> XSLT XSL-FO FAQ.
> http://www.dpawson.co.uk
>

--

-- 
Stephen Green
(Continue reading)

noah_mendelsohn | 3 Dec 06:07 2007
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Re: editing XML with Spreadsheets, most likely Excel

There's another approach that can be ok for very simple scenarios, and 
that's to put the tags directly in the spreadsheet and export as ascii or 
unicode, using a PERL script or the like for final cleanup.  This may seem 
goofy, but it's pretty easy to make a sheet that looks like:

<yourtag>  |  =refToFormulaForYourvalueHere | </yourtag>

where the | are meant to represent cell boundaries.  Copy those rows as 
many times as you need and export as text and you'll get a run of text 
that looks like

<yourtag>123</yourtag>
<yourtag>456</yourtag>

You can trivially wrap it in a document start/end tag, put on an XML 
declaration if you like, use string concatenation functions to build up 
attributes, etc.  Definitely not for complex nestings or mappings to 
elaborate existing XML schemas, but it's using the spreadsheet language in 
a style that's pretty natural for a spreadsheet person.  Depending on what 
else is in the sheet and how you export, you may wind up with other stuff 
before or after in the file, but it should be trivial to add marker lines 
and use a PERL script or the like to clip out the part you need.  Also, 
once you've got that simple XML, it's really easy to transform it to 
something more elaborate using XSLT or other XML tools.

As I say, not the right approach for the most robust of complex cases, but 
can be a really fine way to pull out simple information.

Noah

(Continue reading)

Andrew Welch | 3 Dec 11:29 2007
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Re: editing XML with Spreadsheets, most likely Excel

On 03/12/2007, noah_mendelsohn <at> us.ibm.com <noah_mendelsohn <at> us.ibm.com> wrote:
> There's another approach that can be ok for very simple scenarios, and
> that's to put the tags directly in the spreadsheet and export as ascii or
> unicode, using a PERL script or the like for final cleanup.  This may seem
> goofy, but it's pretty easy to make a sheet that looks like:
>
> <yourtag>  |  =refToFormulaForYourvalueHere | </yourtag>
>
> where the | are meant to represent cell boundaries.  Copy those rows as
> many times as you need and export as text and you'll get a run of text
> that looks like
>
> <yourtag>123</yourtag>
> <yourtag>456</yourtag>
>
> You can trivially wrap it in a document start/end tag, put on an XML
> declaration if you like, use string concatenation functions to build up
> attributes, etc.  Definitely not for complex nestings or mappings to
> elaborate existing XML schemas, but it's using the spreadsheet language in
> a style that's pretty natural for a spreadsheet person.  Depending on what
> else is in the sheet and how you export, you may wind up with other stuff
> before or after in the file, but it should be trivial to add marker lines
> and use a PERL script or the like to clip out the part you need.  Also,
> once you've got that simple XML, it's really easy to transform it to
> something more elaborate using XSLT or other XML tools.
>
> As I say, not the right approach for the most robust of complex cases, but
> can be a really fine way to pull out simple information.

Or save it out to csv and then use my csv-to-xml transform :)
(Continue reading)

Nicholas Sushkin | 3 Dec 13:48 2007

Re: editing XML with Spreadsheets, most likely Excel

On Sunday 02 December 2007 03:36, Dave Pawson wrote: 

> Stephen Green wrote:
> > An afterthought:
> > I've not tried it but maybe, if you use XSLT to create XML output from
> > the underlying XML of the spreadsheet,
>
> I used that method regularly. Spreadsheet entered in MS excel,
> import into Open Office, save. Unzip the xml and process.
> The empty cells weren't a problem. The information is present
> to 'expand' them to make a complete matrix. Expand to a variable
> then process in the normal way.
>
> Note it was 'regular' data though.

There is also an open source (pure) Java library for reading Excel files, 
which has a demo that reads an Excel file and writes into an XML file.

http://jexcelapi.sourceforge.net/

--

-- 
Nicholas Sushkin, Senior Software Engineer
http://www.openfinance.com http://www.wealthinformationexchange.com
Attachment (smime.p7s): application/pkcs7-signature, 1885 bytes
Olivier Ishacian | 3 Dec 13:55 2007

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(Continue reading)


Gmane