TagXSLT

App Interface – Example of HTML Generation from XML and XSLT

Following one of my last posts “App Interface and Data Update with UIWebViews, XML, XSLT and HTML” where some readers requested me to post an example of this method for rendering/generating HTML from XML and XSLT files.

Due to the lack of time from my part, I’ll not post the iPhone/iOS code but only the XML and XSLT files, to help those guys who asked for that. So, here it goes an example consisting of 2 files which can be rendered on almost any current browser like Firefox, Safari or Opera (it doesn’t worked on Chrome for me, don’t know why).

To try this example, just download the following 2 files:

Then open “scorers.xml” with one of the refered web browsers or simply click directly on that link and you should see in your screen the rendered HTML:

This sample code snippets were extracted from our South Africa 2010 Soccer Scores app which you can still download from the App Store [http://itunes.apple.com/pt/app/south-africa-2010-soccer-scores/id379206383?mt=8] and see how this technique working on a real app.

Now to integrate it in your iOS app, you only need to create an UIWebView where you’ll present it. That’s it! 🙂

As usual, your comments/suggestions are welcome…

App Interface and Data Update with UIWebViews, XML, XSLT and HTML

I haven’t wrote almost anything about the development of my first App launched on the App Store: SA2010SS. Now it’s time for a little about that…

I’m picking up that code to reuse it on the next App, which will be similar  but this time, based on the National Soccer League(s) with the addition of one or two interesting features, I hope.

This post is focused on the strategy that I used for our App’s main interface and data updates.

Starting by the data updates, our App gets the data from the server, downloading three XML files, each one with:

  • match results;
  • standings;
  • best scorers.

For the user interface I’ve used some standard iPhone controls (mainly for buttons) but the main screen is almost filled with an UIWebView.

What that means?

That means that the mainly part of our App UI is done using standard HTML web pages. I had some problems to implement this “workflow”, but after achieving that, it allowed us to easily tune our UI, using standard web technologies: HTML + CSS.

The main pages/views are obtained via XSLT:

XML -> XSLT (with CSS) applied -> HTML

So, when the App updates data, it receives three XML files, the correspondent XML data for the screen that the user is seeing, is transformed applying a corresponding XSLT file and then the new HTML page is generated and presented on the UIWebView.

I know this method is not so fast as if I had only used iPhone controls from the UIKit Framework for the views. But the pages scroll and transitions are fluid, except on the first time the App creates and presents each view, which take maybe 2 or 3 seconds do appear.

That’s not perfect, but it was a nice trade-off which allowed us to cut some time (that would be used to learn to use those controls) on our App development and design.

Nevertheless, in the future maybe it’ll be easily to port it to Android OS or any other platform which supports web views.

I’d like to hear your opinions and suggestions about this scheme or better alternatives. Leave me a comment…

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