Extensible Markup Language (XML)

Extensible Markup Language (XML)


Credit Fall 2019
08/26/2019 - 12/15/2019

Course Information

Section 004
Distance Learning
Richard Baldwin

Office Hours

  • Sa
    See Note - --->
    See Note --->
    Due to some medical issues, office hours this semester will be limited to:
    1. Telephone at any time - leave message if no answer: (512) 223-4758
    2. Email at any time
    3. Video conference by appointment
    4. On-campus by appointment
    Don't hesitate to email or phone for an on-campus or video appointment.

Course Description / Rationale

This syllabus applies to all sections of ITSE 1356 - Introduction to XML taught by Prof. Baldwin including:

Important Notes

See the Main Web Page for this course at here for additional information.

All students enrolled in this course are required to complete online orientation at the beginning of the course. Click here and follow the instructions to complete the orientation process.

Then open your Blackboard course, read the Announcements, and select Orientation Test00 in the menu on the left side of the page. You must successfully complete Test00 with a score of at least 80 before you can view and begin working on your assignments. If you don't achieve a score of at least 80 on your first attempt, keep reading the orientation material and repeating the test until you achieve a score of at least 80. When you achieve a score of at least 80, select Asg01-03 in the Blackboard menu on the left and the first three assignments should become visible.

Use the Blackboard "Send Email" feature within the first few days of the course to send an Email message to Prof. Baldwin confirming that you have completed online orientation. Make the subject of your message read "Online orientation complete." If you fail to do this within the first few days of the course, you may suffer administrative penalties, which may include being administratively dropped from the course and the loss of eligibility for financial aid. (See the announcement regarding being declared as "Never Attended" in Blackboard.)

You should sign into and check your ACCmail account early in the semester and frequently within the semester to make certain that you don't miss important announcements and Email messages.

Logical steps for starting and completing this course

  1. Begin by reading this syllabus in its entirety paying particular attention to the section titled Course Requirements.
  2. Access the assignments (Asg01-03 for example) and tests (Test01 for example) for the course on Blackboard to get information regarding the assignments and the tests.
  3. Access Instructions for Downloading and Submitting Assignments to get more specific information regarding the Assignments.
  4. Access Instructions for Accessing and Taking Blackboard Tests to get more specific information regarding the tests.
  5. Go to Follow the link to the Main page for your course and complete the online orientation. Use the learning resources identified in the syllabus and in the orientation material to complete the assignments, complete the tests, and successfully complete the course.

Course Description

Introduction of skills and practice related to Extensible Markup Language (XML) and JavaScript Object Notation (JSON).

Topics to be covered include: elements, attributes, entities, transforms, well-formed documents, valid documents and JSON (an alternative to XML).

Course Rationale

This course is designed to introduce the student to the conceptual and practical aspects of XML, XSL, XSLT, validation by DTD, and JSON.

-end course description-

Student Learning Outcomes/Learning Objectives

IMPORTANT: See the link to the Main Web Page for this course in the Course Description / Rationale section for additional information about this course, including a requirement for online orientation.

Course Objectives / Learning Outcomes: You will learn the basics of creating XML documents, transforming XML documents, and validating XML documents.

More specifically, you will learn the basics and history of XML and how to write your own XML documents.

You will learn how to transform XML documents into documents of other types using XSLT.

You will learn how to write valid XML documents based on a DTD.

You will also learn, (at an introductory level), about JavaScript Object Notation (JSON), which is an emerging alternative to XML.

Accelerated Programmer Training (APT) Competencies

  • Writing XML - Demonstrate the ability to write well-formed XML.
  • Transforming XML - Demonstrate the ability to use XSLT to transform XML documents into different formats.
  • Validating XML - Demonstrate the ability to write valid XML that conforms to an existing DTD.
  • JSON - An introduction to JSON, an emerging alternative to XML

Scans Competencies

Refer to for a compete definition and explanations of SCANS. The following list summarizes SCANS competencies addressed in this course.

The following is a summary of the Scans Competencies attributable to this course:

  • Time: Selects goal-relevant activities, ranks them, allocates time, and prepares and follows schedules.
  • Acquires and evaluates information.
  • Organizes and maintains information.
  • Interprets and communicates information.
  • Uses computers to process information.
  • Understands Systems: Knows how social, organizational, and technological systems work and operates effectively with them.
  • Monitors and Corrects Performance: Distinguishes trends, predicts impacts on system operations, diagnoses systems performance, and corrects malfunctions.
  • Selects Technology: Chooses procedures, tools, or equipment, including computers and related technologies.
  • Applies Technology to Task: Understands overall intent and proper procedures for setup and operation of equipment.
  • Reading: Locates, understands, and interprets written information in prose and in documents such as manuals, graphs, and schedules.
  • Arithmetic: Performs basic computations; uses basic numerical concepts such as whole numbers, etc.
  • Listening: Receives, attends to, interprets, and responds to verbal messages and other cues.
  • Decision Making: Specifies goals and constraints, generates alternatives, considers risks, and evaluates and chooses best alternative.
  • Problem Solving: Recognizes problems and devises and implements plan of action.
  • Seeing Things in the Mind’s Eye: Organizes and processes symbols, pictures, graphs, objects, and other information.
  • Knowing How to Learn: Uses efficient learning techniques to acquire and apply new knowledge and skills.
  • Reasoning: Discovers a rule or principle underlying the relationship between two or more objects and applies it when solving a problem.
  • Responsibility: Exerts a high level of effort and perseveres towards goal attainment. 1

-end outcomes-


IMPORTANT: See the link to the Main Web Page for this course in the Course Description / Rationale section for additional information about this course, including a requirement for online orientation.

XML: Visual QuickStart Guide, 2/E
Kevin Howard Goldberg
ISBN-10: 0321559673
ISBN-13: 9780321559678
Publisher: Peachpit Press

Example files that accompany the textbook can be downloaded from

Software: It should not be necessary for you to purchase any software in order to complete this course successfully.

ACC will provide the XML Copy Editor in the computer lab at ACC's NRG campus. If you need to work at a different ACC campus, please give this link to the lab manager at that campus and request that the XML Copy Editor be installed in that lab.

A winPenPack version of the X-XML Copy Editor is also available for downloading. However, your instructor hasn't used it, other than to confirm that it will run under Vista Home Premium Edition. This version is claimed to be highly portable and doesn't require a Windows installation to run.

In addition to the textbook, you will need access to all of the modules under ITSE1356 at Introduction to XML.

-end of Readings-

Course Requirements

IMPORTANT: See the link to the Main Web Page for this course in the Course Description / Rationale section above for additional information about this course, including a requirement for online orientation.

Assignment and Test Schedules

During the Fall and Spring semesters, this course is offered during the 16-week, 12-week, and 8-week sessions. In the summer, the course is offered in the 9-week session. The information in this section is intended to apply to all four sessions.

You must complete and submit the following sixteen items:

You may submit each assignment up to two times before the submission deadline explained below. Your highest score among the two scores for each assignment will be used to compute your final grade.

You may take Test00 an unlimited number of times on or before the submission deadline. The submission deadline for Test00 is the same as the submission deadline for Test03. (However, you need to achieve a score of at least 80 on Test00 very early in the semester to gain access to the assignments. You can continue taking it until the end of the semester in an attempt to improve your score.) Your highest score among the scores for Test00 will be used to compute your final grade.

You may take the proctored Test01, Test02, and Test03 up to two times each on or before their respective submission deadlines Your highest score among the scores for each test will be used to compute your final grade.

The submission deadlines for these sixteen items vary depending on the session in which you are enrolled. You can find the submission deadline for each item by opening your course in Blackboard, selecting Tools from the left-side menu, and selecting My Grades. You can also find the submission deadline for each item by opening your Blackboard calendar. It will not be possible for you to submit an item after 11:59 PM on the date shown.

Note that submission deadlines may fall on holidays or on other days that the campus is closed. If so, you need to anticipate that circumstance and make appropriate arrangements in advance to avoid missing a deadline.

Because the deadline for Test00 falls on the same day as the deadline for Test03, there are 15 unique deadlines (twelve for assignments and three for tests).

For general planning purposes, the deadline for the first assignment (Asg01) in the 16-week session is approximately four weeks following the first day of class. The deadlines for the remaining 14 items occur approximately every six days thereafter. The deadlines for the three proctored tests follow the deadlines for Asg03, Asg06, and Asg09. (There is no test following Asg12.)

The startup time and the time interval between deadlines is correspondingly shorter for the 12-week, 9-week, and 8-week sessions.

You are permitted and encouraged to submit your assignments and to take your tests early.

Academic Testing Centers

This course may require you to complete one or more online Blackboard tests in an ACC Academic Testing Center according to the schedule and deadlines explained elsewhere in this syllabus. It is the student's responsibility to make all necessary arrangements with the testing center to complete the tests, including accessibility, hours of operation, etc. It is also the student's responsibility to comply with the Testing Center Guidelines. (In the event that you find the above link broken, you can search for and access testing center requirements from the main ACC web site.)

Lest there be any confusion on the matter, all students enrolled in a Distance Learning section of this course taught by Prof. Baldwin must complete their online Blackboard tests in an ACC Academic Testing Center unless prior arrangements for remote testing have been made. The "No restrictions (Test can be taken by the user anywhere)" Blackboard option is not available for this course.

Classroom testing

Students enrolled in a classroom section must complete the online Blackboard tests during a regularly scheduled class or lab period AND must request to take the test during the first five minutes of the class or lab period.

Grade Policy

Your grade will be based both on concepts and practical application.

Grading Scale

Letter grades will be assigned as follows:

90% - 100% A 
80% - 89%  B 
70% - 79%  C 
60% - 69%  D 
 0% - 59%  F 

Each of the sixteen assignments and tests listed earlier will be weighted equally when computing your final grade. Depending on the final scores of all the students taking the course, it is possible that a curve may be applied to the final grades before they are submitted for recording.


The material covered by the first nine assignments and the three tests follows the textbook very closely with one exception. Chapter 8 provides the practical implementation of the material covered in Chapter 6 and Chapter 7. You will probably need to jump ahead and study Chapter 8 before you attempt to complete the assignments and the tests for Chapter 6 and Chapter 7.

The learning resources for the last three assignments are the JSON modules at Introduction to XML.

The course covers all of the material in the ITSE1356 sub-collection of my EBook titled Introduction to XML. (Note that the course does not cover the Flex material in that EBook.)

The course also covers the following material in the textbook with the exceptions noted:

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 6 except for the following sections:
    • Referencing Attributes with Unique Values
    • Restricting Attributes to Valid XML Names
  • Chapter 7 except for the following sections:
    • Creating Entities for Unparsed Content
    • Embedding Unparsed Content
  • Chapter 8 except for the following sections:
    • Naming a Public External DTD
    • Declaring a Public External DTD

-end requirements-

Course / Class Policies

IMPORTANT: See the link to the Main Web Page for this course in the Course Description / Rationale section for additional information about this course, including a requirement for online orientation.

Although it is technically possible for a student to transfer from one section to another section of the same course, this process has caused many problems in the past, and is not allowed unless the reasons for the transfer are compelling. Students desiring to transfer between CIS/CSC courses must first obtain permission from an Assistant Dean for CIS/CSC who will initiate the paperwork. (Note, however, that I will allow you to informally transfer between my in-class section and my distance-learning section of the same course at any time during the semester in those semesters where both are available.)

Here is the official information that I have received regarding Incomplete grades:

A student may receive a temporary grade of "I" (Incomplete) at the end of the semester only if ALL the following conditions are satisfied:

  1. The student is unable to complete the course during the semester due to circumstances beyond their control.
  2. The student must have earned at least half of the grade points needed for a “C” by the end of the semester.
  3. The request for the grade must be made in person at the instructor’s office and necessary documents completed.
  4. To remove an “I”, the student must complete the course by two weeks before the end of the following semester. Failure to do so will result in the grade automatically reverting to an “F”.

To give you an idea of the gravity of the situation, I don't recall ever having given a student a temporary grade of "I" during my entire teaching career at ACC.

Freedom of Expression Policy:
It is expected that faculty and students will respect the views of others when expressed in classroom discussions.

Academic Integrity:
A student is expected to complete his or her own projects and tests. Students are responsible for observing the policy on academic integrity described in the Current ACC Student Handbook.

“Acts prohibited by the college for which discipline may be administered include scholastic dishonesty, including but not limited to cheating on an exam or quiz, plagiarizing, and unauthorized collaboration with another in preparing outside work. Academic work submitted by students shall be the result of their own thought, research or self-expression. Academic work is defined as, but not limited to tests, quizzes, whether taken electronically or on paper; projects, either individual or group; classroom presentations, and homework”.

The penalty accessed for violations will be in accordance with the current ACC Student Handbook policy. See for more information.

Attendance Policy:
The college policy states that students are expected to attend classes and will be held responsible for all material covered in class. Regular attendance helps ensure satisfactory progress towards completion of the course.

(Students enrolled in Open Campus classes are not expected to attend class. Prof. Baldwin does not call the roll and does not maintain an official record of attendance.)

Withdrawal Policy:

It is the student's responsibility to complete a Withdrawal Form in the Admissions Office if the student wishes to withdraw from this course. The last date to withdraw is provided in the ACC Academic calendar for the semester in which the student is enrolled.

It is not the responsibility of the instructor to withdraw students from the course even though the instructor has the prerogative to do so under various circumstances. For example, the instructor may elect to withdraw students from the course if he notices at some point that any one or more of the following is true:

  • The student has failed to successfully complete and submit three or more assignments or tests in a row. (Successful completion is defined as a grade of at least 70-percent on the assignment or test.)
  • There is insufficient work remaining for the student to earn a final grade of at least 70-percent in the course.
  • The student has given the instructor reason to believe that the student is not actively engaged in the course.

A grade of "W" will be automatically assigned if the student initiates a withdrawal through the Admissions and Records office, in accordance with the requirements of that office or if the student is withdrawn from the course by the instructor.  If the student fails to complete the work and also fails to properly withdraw (and is not withdrawn by the instructor), a grade of A, B, C, D, or F will be assigned in accordance with the work that was completed.

State law regarding withdrawals:
My interpretation -- no more than six course withdrawals allowed throughout your undergraduate education, regardless of how many colleges you attend. Apparently, students who entered college before Fall 2007 are not affected. Ask a counselor for the official ACC interpretation.

Students with Disabilities Policy:
“Each ACC campus offers support services for students with documented physical or psychological disabilities. Students with disabilities must request reasonable accommodations through the Office for Students with Disabilities on the campus where they expect to take the majority of their classes. Students are encouraged to make this request three weeks before the start of the semester. (Refer to the Current ACC Student Handbook)”

Testing Center Policy (Open Campus Sections Only):
Visit the ACC web site at Select Search, and then search for the keywords testing center.

Concealed Handgun Policy
The Austin Community College District concealed handgun policy ensures compliance with Section 411.2031 of the Texas Government Code (also known as the Campus Carry Law), while maintaining ACC’s commitment to provide a safe environment for its students, faculty, staff, and visitors.

Beginning August 1, 2017, individuals who are licensed to carry (LTC) may do so on campus premises except in locations and at activities prohibited by state or federal law, or the college’s concealed handgun policy.

It is the responsibility of license holders to conceal their handguns at all times. Persons who see a handgun on campus are asked to contact the ACC Police Department by dialing 222 from a campus phone or 512-223-7999.

Refer to the concealed handgun policy online at

-end policies-

Course Subjects

IMPORTANT: See the link to the Main Web Page for this course in the Course Description / Rationale section for additional information about this course, including a requirement for online orientation.

Schedule of topics

Lectures, discussion, assignments, and tests will cover the following topics from the textbook and from Introduction to XML. Note that the designation Part A, Part B, etc., does not appear in the textbook. However, the titles shown do appear as section titles in the textbook.

  • =====Introduction=====
  • Part A - What is XML?
  • Part B - The Power of XML
  • Part C - Extending XML
  • Part D - XML in Practice
  • -
  • =====Chapter 01 - Writing XML=====
  • Part A - Tools for Writing XML
  • Part B - An XML Sample
  • Part C - Rules for Writing XML
  • Part D - Elements, Attributes, and Values
  • Part E - How to Begin
  • Part F - Creating the Root Element
  • Part G - Writing Child Elements
  • Part H - Nesting Elements
  • Part I - Adding Attributes
  • Part J - Using Empty Elements
  • Part K - Writing Comments
  • Part L - Predefined Entities -- Five Special Symbols
  • Part M - Displaying Elements as Text
  • -
  • =====Chapter 02 - XSLT=====
  • Part A - XSL and XSLT
  • Part B - Transforming XML with XSLT
  • Part C - Beginning an XSLT Style Sheet
  • Part D - Creating the Root Template
  • Part E - Outputting HTML
  • Part F - Outputting Values
  • Part G - Looping Over Nodes
  • Part H - Processing Nodes Conditionally
  • Part I - Adding Conditional Choices
  • Part J - Sorting Nodes Before Processing
  • Part K - Generating Output Attributes
  • Part L - What comes next?
  • -
  • =====Chapter 3, Chapter 4, and Chapter 5 are not covered in the course=====
  • -
  • =====Chapter 06 - Creating a DTD=====
  • Part A - Creating a DTD
  • Jumping Ahead -
    • Students should jump ahead and study the first four sections in Chapter 8 at this point.
  • Part B - Working with DTDs
  • Part C - Defining an Element That Contains Text
  • Part D - Defining an Empty Element
  • Part E - Defining an Element That Contains a Child
  • Part F - Defining an Element That Contains Children
  • Part G - Defining How Many Occurrences
  • Part H - Defining Choices
  • Part I - Defining an Element That Contains Anything
  • Part J - About Attributes
  • Part K - Defining Attributes
  • Part L - Defining Default Values
  • Part M - Defining Attributes with Choices
  • Part N - Defining Attributes with Unique Values
  • Part O - Referencing Attributes with Unique Values (Note, the material in this section is not included in this course.)
  • Part P - Restricting Attributes to Valid XML Names (Note, the material in this section is not included in this course.)
  • -
  • =====Chapter 07 - Entities and Notations in DTDs=====
  • Part A - Entities and Notations in DTDs
  • Part B - Creating (and Using) a General Entity
    • (Combines two textbook sections into one lecture.)
  • Part C - Creating (and Using) External General Entities
    • (Combines two textbook sections into one lecture.)
  • Part D - Creating Entities for Unparsed Content (Note, the material in this section is not included in this course.)
  • Part E - Embedding Unparsed Content  (Note, the material in this section is not included in this course.)
  • Part F - Creating and Using Parameter Entities
  • Part G - Creating an External Parameter Entity
  • -
  • =====Chapter 08 - Validation and Using DTDs=====
  • Part A - Validation and Using DTDs
  • Part B - Creating (and Declaring) an External DTD
    • (Combines two textbook sections into one lecture.)
  • Part C - Declaring and Creating an Internal DTD
  • Part D - Validating XML Documents Against a DTD
  • Part E - Naming a Public External DTD (Note, the material in this section is not included in this course.)
  • Part F - Declaring a Public External DTD (Note, the material in this section is not included in this course.)
  • Part G - Pros and Cons of DTDs
  • -
  • =====Introduction to XML=====
  • All modules in the ITSE1356 section of Introduction to XML

There are five textbook chapters (plus the introduction) plus nine online modules to be covered in a sixteen-week semester. Therefore, the schedule will cover approximately one module or one chapter per week.

-end course subjects-

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