A newcomer wonders if there's a secret handshake or code required to delve into its riddles . . . such as knowing what to bring to a potluck.
From a book review of Potluck: Stories That Taste Like Hawaii
This chapter differs from the others because the examples represent mini-XSLT applications covering a diverse set of domains (a potluck, if you will). Many examples relate to the use of specific commercial software. As software vendors embrace XML, they provide opportunities for their products to be used in ways they never imagined (or did not get around to implementing).
Microsoft is one vendor that has jumped on the XML bandwagon. The latest versions of Microsoft Visio (Version 10.0) and Excel (Office XP Version 10.0) both support XML output. Visio is a proprietary vector drawing package, and Visio's XML output (called Visio VDX) is also Visio-specific. John Breen has done an admirable job converting this output to Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). His code is featured in Recipe 13.1.
Microsoft Excel allows spreadsheets to be saved in XML. Unfortunately, the XML directly models the structure of an Excel spreadsheet. Recipe 13.2 shows how to convert them to a more usable form.
Topic Maps are an up-and-coming XML technology for modeling knowledge in a way that makes information published on the Web more useful to both people and machines. XTM is an open standard for representing topic maps in XML. By analogy, software developers ...