Oratorio, Mozilla, and XML [Technical]

One of the decisions I made when starting work on Oratorio was to use XML to store songs and presentations. The promise of XML is portability of data — since all the data in an XML file is structured and labeled, it should be straightforward to use the data in other places and ways than those for which it was originally intended.

Unfortunately, XML is taking a bit of time to mature to the point where this promise is realized. I did, however, get a tantalizing glimpse today of that future. I spent about 30 minutes reading articles and creating a CSS file (which tells how to display the XML data), and was rewarded with the ability to view Oratorio songs directly in Mozilla, the Netscape-derived open-source browser. The cool thing about it is that I didn’t have to do anything special, other than creating and pointing to the rules for displaying the data. Mozilla effectively already knew what to do with an Oratorio file.

Now, if we could get all the browsers displaying XML in the same way, this would really become useful. Once that happens, I’ll be able to put up a library of songs in XML format that can be viewed within a browser and downloaded directly to an Oratorio song library with no extra work. Very cool.