Introduction to XML

Syllabus Spring 2015


Course Description | Course Objectives| Learning Materials | Class Procedures | Assessment and grading


Jaana Holvikivi

Course Description

The student will acquire a knowledge of key features of the most common languages in the XML standard family. The student will fully understand the definition and structure of the Extensible Markup Language (XML), and tree structures in data organisation. Understanding functional programming based on XSLT.

Core content level learning outcomes (knowledge and understanding)

Familiarity with the principles of electronic documentation and structured documents, particularly the XML standard family. Understanding and capacity to use encoding, tools and standards related to XML, the XML tree structures, XPath, DTD, XML Schema, and CSS. Knowledge of functional programming using XSLT. Knowledge of XML parsers, validators and processors.

Additionally, the student has knowledge of some practical applications of XML such as electronic commerce, Web Services, multichannel publishing and XSL-FO, RSS and semantic Web.

Core content level learning outcomes (skills)

The unit gives an ability to plan and implement XML based applications, and to apply functional programming in document conversion. The student has an ability to use most important tools and standards related to XML, particularly DTD, XML Schema, CSS and XSLT. The student is familiar with some XML parsers, Schema validators and XSLT processors like Visual Studio.

Lectures: 7 hours, 1/week Laboratory practice: 24 hours, 4 hours/week


Course Objectives


Learning materials

Recommended reading

Fawcett, Quin, Ayers: Beginning XML. Fifth edition. Wiley 2012. Chapters 1-5, 7,8,14-16

Hunter, David: Beginning XML. 4th Edition. Wrox Press 2007. Chapters 1-8, 16-17
Book's exercices can be downloaded from the Web-site Wrox Press - Programmer to Programmer

Kay, Michael: XSLT 2.0. Programmer's reference. Wrox Press. 2004.
Williams, Ian: Beginning XSLT and XPath : transforming XML documents and data. Wrox Press. 2009.
Tennison, Jeni. Beginning XSLT. Apress. 2004.

Materials on the Web:

Core site, recommendations and standards:




Class procedures

Prerequisites: Application Development, Programming

Attendance to the lectures is highly recommended. Sessions in the laboratory are devoted to practical exercises. All work has to be completed and handed in.  Make sure your work is registered by the teacher!

Instead of doing the exam, students have the option of a seminar presentation. Seminars are prepared in groups of 2 or 3, and presented during the last sessions. Seminar presentations explore some of the XML standardizations areas or applications like XMLQuery, RDF, DOM or SAX, or present some real life application.

Assessment and Grading

Your grade will be calculated on the basis of the points given for various assessment components. All compulsory components must be passed to get credit for the course. 17 points are needed to pass, 37 points to get a 5.

Weight of different components is as follows:   

Assessment component Points. max Compulsory
Lab exercises  1-4 3 yes
Lab exercises  5 3 yes
Lab exercises  6 10 yes
Lab exercises  8 2 no
Examination or seminar


yes, min. 15

Due Dates

Deliverables which are late or missing will be penalized. Due dates may be changed for compelling reasons. The students are  responsible for making change arrangements with the instructor before the work is due. 

Academic Integrity

Dishonesty is not part of academic and professional work. Dishonesty includes e.g.: 

If caught for committing academic misconduct, you will receive 0 in this course and a referral to the Vice President of the Institute.




Created by: Jaana Holvikivi
Updated: 19.3.2015