About previewing XML data

About previewing XML data

When you use Preview in Browser (File > Preview in Browser) to preview XML data that you’ve inserted in an XSLT fragment or an entire XSLT page, the engine that performs the XSL transformation differs from situation to situation. For dynamic pages containing XSLT fragments, the application server always performs the transformation. At other times, either Dreamweaver or the browser might be performing the transformation.

The following table summarizes the situations when using Preview in Browser, and the engines that perform the respective transformations:

Type of page previewed in browser

Data transformation performed by

Dynamic page containing XSLT fragment

Application server

XSLT fragment or entire XSLT page

Dreamweaver

XML file with link to entire XSLT page

Browser

The following topics provide guidelines for helping you determine the appropriate previewing methods, based on your needs:

  • Previewing pages for server-side transformations
  • Previewing pages for client-side transformations
  • Previewing entire XSLT pages and XSLT fragments

Previewing pages for server-side transformations

In the case of server-side transformations, the content the site visitor ultimately sees is transformed by your application server. When building XSLT and dynamic pages for use with server-side transformations, it is always preferable to preview the dynamic page that contains the XSLT fragment instead of the XSLT fragment itself. In the former scenario, you make use of the application server, which ensures that your preview is consistent with what your site visitors will see when they visit your page. In the latter scenario, Dreamweaver performs the transformation, and could provide slightly inconsistent results. You can use Dreamweaver to preview your XSLT fragment while you are building it, but you’ll be able to see the most accurate results of the data rendering if you use the application server to preview your dynamic page after you’ve inserted the XSLT fragment.

Previewing pages for client-side transformations

In the case of client-side transformations, the content the site visitor ultimately sees is transformed by a browser. You accomplish this by adding a link from the XML file to the XSLT page. If you open the XML file in Dreamweaver and preview it in a browser, you force the browser to load the XML file and perform the transformation. This provides you with the same experience as that of your site visitor.

One disadvantage of this approach is that it makes it harder for you to debug your page because the browser transforms the XML and generates the HTML internally. If you select the browser’s View Source option to debug the generated HTML, you will only see the original XML that the browser received, not the full HTML (tags, styles, and so forth) responsible for the rendering of the page. To see the full HTML when viewing source code, you must preview the XSLT page in a browser instead.

Previewing entire XSLT pages and XSLT fragments

When creating entire XSLT pages and XSLT fragments, you’ll want to preview your work to make sure that your data is being displayed correctly. If you use Preview in Browser to display an entire XSLT page or an XSLT fragment, Dreamweaver performs the transformation using a built-in transformation engine. This method gives you quick results, and makes it easier for you to incrementally build and debug your page. It also provides a way for you to view the full HTML (tags, styles, and so forth) by selecting the View Source option in the browser.

Related topics

  • About using XML and XSL with web pages
  • About server-side XSL transformations
  • About client-side XSL transformations
  • Applying styles to XSLT fragments


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