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XML Interview Questions and Answers

Ques 16. Can you walk us through the steps necessary to parse XML documents?

Ans. Superficially, this is a fairly basic question. However, the point is not to determine whether candidates understand the concept of a parser but rather have them walk through the process of parsing XML documents step-by-step. Determining whether a non-validating or validating parser is needed, choosing the appropriate parser, and handling errors are all important aspects to this process that should be included in the candidate's response.

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Ques 17. Give some examples of XML DTDs or schemas that you have worked with?
Ans. Although XML does not require data to be validated against a DTD, many of the benefits of using the technology are derived from being able to validate XML documents against business or technical architecture rules. Polling for the list of DTDs that developers have worked with provides insight to their general exposure to the technology. The ideal candidate will have knowledge of several of the commonly used DTDs such as FpML, DocBook, HRML, and RDF, as well as experience designing a custom DTD for a particular project where no standard existed.
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Ques 18. Using XSLT, how would you extract a specific attribute from an element in an XML document?
Ans. Successful candidates should recognize this as one of the most basic applications of XSLT. If they are not able to construct a reply similar to the example below, they should at least be able to identify the components necessary for this operation: xsl:template to match the appropriate XML element, xsl:value-of to select the attribute value, and the optional xsl:apply-templates to continue processing the document.

Extract Attributes from XML Data
Example 1.
<xsl:template match="element-name"> Attribute Value:
<xsl:value-of select="@attribute"/>
<xsl:apply-templates/>
</xsl:template>
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Ques 19. When constructing an XML DTD, how do you create an external entity reference in an attribute value?
Ans. Every interview session should have at least one trick question. Although possible when using SGML, XML DTDs don't support defining external entity references in attribute values. It's more important for the candidate to respond to this question in a logical way than than the candidate know the somewhat obscure answer.
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Ques 20. What is the difference between XML and C or C++ or Java?
Ans. C and C++ (and other languages like FORTRAN, or Pascal, or Visual Basic, or Java or hundreds more) are programming languages with which you specify calculations, actions, and decisions to be carried out in order: mod curconfig[if left(date,6) = "01-Apr", t.put "April googlel!", f.put days('31102005','DDMMYYYY') - days(sdate,'DDMMYYYY') " more shopping days to Samhain"];
XML is a markup specification language with which you can design ways of describing information (text or data), usually for storage, transmission, or processing by a program. It says nothing about what you should do with the data (although your choice of element names may hint at what they are for):
<part num="DA42" models="LS AR DF HG KJ" update="2001-11-22">
<name>Camshaft end bearing retention circlip</name>
<image drawing="RR98-dh37" type="SVG" x="476" y="226"/> <maker id="RQ778">Ringtown Fasteners Ltd</maker>
<notes>Angle-nosed insertion tool <tool id="GH25"/> is required for the removal and replacement of this part.</notes>
</part>
On its own, an SGML or XML file (including HTML) doesn't do anything. It's a data format which just sits there until you run a program.
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