6.6 Claris Dynamic Markup Language

6.6 Claris Dynamic Markup Language

The Claris Dynamic Markup Language (CDML) is the basis for many of the CGI calls to Web Companion. There are additional commands in CDML that perform conditional actions, email from the browser, and replace the CDML elements with common HTML elements and attributes. The command set for CDML is limited and it is a proprietary language. The XML produced with the command set is sufficient to submit and retrieve field contents from a database. XML can be used with XSL, JavaScript, or other processing methods to format the results.

CDML is similar to a mail merge formatted page within a word processor. As Web Companion CGI encounters the proprietary language, it returns the information in the fields. XML processing by Web Companion is more like an export of the field contents with an export of the metadata about the fields. The raw data needs further processing but has more options for processing. Both methods use similar commands for the actions to interact with the database. XML and CDML requests cannot be mixed on the same page, but both XML and CDML may be used in the same web site.

The most notable difference between CDML and XML calls to Web Companion is the -format parameter. In CDML, this value is used to go to the next web page to display the results. In XML, the -format parameter is used to specify the schema to return the results. It is the diverse usage of the -format parameter that prevents CDML and XML from being displayed on the same page.

The intent of this section is not to teach you how to use CDML. The similarities may be made apparent as XML Stylesheet Language (XSL) is discussed in Chapter 7. You can download the "CDML Reference" and "CDML Tool" documents from FileMaker, Inc. at http://www.filemaker.com/downloads/. These are also available when you install FileMaker Pro Unlimited or FileMaker Developer. There are many other resources for learning CDML. These resources are listed in Appendix B.

6.61 Languages Related to HTML


A subset of XHMTL that is used by many "smart phones" in Japan is called i-mode. The subset uses the same elements, but the content design should be altered to accommodate the small display. NTT DoCoMo, Inc., http://www.nttdocomo.com/home.html (click on i-mode), recommends displaying only 8 full-width Japanese characters (or 16 half-width characters). The screen displays approximately six lines at a time. A limited graphic can be used in the .gif format with a maximum size of 94 x 72 pixels. The elements that may be used when writing for i-mode are:

<!– –>



(root element)


(header information: title, base)


(title of the document)


(base URL)


(main content)


(text block)


(heading text)






(preformatted text)


(quoted text)






(horizontal rule)


(definition list)


(unordered list: li)


(ordered list: li)


(list item)


(form submission)


(text, hidden, submit, password types)


(selection list: option)


(option for selection list)


(multiline text field)

The command set is limited and input is accomplished with fields and selection lists only. There are no <table> elements, and frames are not allowed. There are no text formatting elements or script calls. The design of the content is meant for small devices, so each page should only have 2 to 5 Kb of data, including graphics.

FileMaker, Inc. has announced a new version of FileMaker Mobile. FileMaker Mobile for i-mode is only being released in Japan, and the software will convert the database content to i-mode format. No design may be necessary, but if you plan to create custom pages, follow the above guidelines.

Compact HTML (cHTML) and XHTML Basic

Another subset of XHTML is also designed for smaller devices. Compact HTML allows for basic text, simple forms, images, and hyperlinks. Unlike i-mode, cHTML does allow tables and object support. The document "XHTML Basic," http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml-basic is a recommendation for using these compact versions of HTML and XHTML. Some of these recommendations are listed below:

  • Stylesheets are supported with the <link> element and should be external documents.

  • Scripts are not supported as these may require events that interact with an operating system. The XHTML Basic documents may be viewed on multiple devices and may not support script events.

  • Fonts are likely to be dependent upon the device. No formatting should be included in an XHTML Basic document. Stylesheets may be used for separate devices.

  • Input may not occur on all devices, but basic forms may be included in XHTML Basic documents. The input buffer size may be limited on smaller devices.

  • Simple tables may be included. The recommendations for tables in the document "Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0," http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT, should be followed.

  • Frames should not ever be used when designing for multiple devices.

The XHTML Basic document must begin:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML Basic 1.0//EN"
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">

The elements are similar to i-mode and the HTML elements in this chapter. The basic structure of the document uses head, title, meta, base, and body elements. Hyperlinks use the a (anchor) element. Text can be displayed with abbr, acronym, address, blockquote and q (quote), cite, code, dfn, em, h1h6, kbd, samp, strong, var, div and span, pre, p (paragraph), and br (linebreak). Images can be displayed with img or object. Basic tables use the elements caption, table, tr, th, and td. Lists can be displayed as definition lists (dl, dt, and dd), unordered lists (ul and li), or ordered lists (ol and li). Basic forms use the elements form, input, label, textarea, select, and option.

Back to Basics

HTML started as a smaller set of elements and evolved to include tables, frames, and other multimedia content. Each browser may have had separated elements that would not get interpreted by the other browsers. In a LYNX browser, a common means of reading HTML text, many of these elements were prohibitive. Some elements are confusing to screen readers and simply too complex for mobile devices. A trend to separate the data and presentation begins with XML. However, the XML can use XHTML to display the content in a pleasing format. XML Stylesheet Language (XSL) can use commands to transform XHTML and XML into web pages. XSL is discussed in the next chapter.