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What's For Dinner? - Perl

Converted your little black book into XML, and don't know what to do next? This article gets you started on the path to being an XML guru, demonstrating how to use Perl's SAX parser to parse and convert your XML into Web-friendly HTML.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. Using Perl with XML (part 1)
  2. Getting Down To Business
  3. Let's Talk About SAX
  4. Breaking It Down
  5. Call Me Back
  6. Random Walk
  7. What's For Dinner?
By: icarus, (c) Melonfire
Rating: starstarstarstarstar / 20
January 15, 2002

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Here's another, slightly more complex example using the SAX parser, and one of my favourite meals.

<?xml version="1.0"?> <recipe> <name>Chicken Tikka</name> <author>Anonymous</author> <date>1 June 1999</date> <ingredients> <item> <desc>Boneless chicken breasts</desc> <quantity>2</quantity> </item> <item> <desc>Chopped onions</desc> <quantity>2</quantity> </item> <item> <desc>Ginger</desc> <quantity>1 tsp</quantity> </item> <item> <desc>Garlic</desc> <quantity>1 tsp</quantity> </item> <item> <desc>Red chili powder</desc> <quantity>1 tsp</quantity> </item> <item> <desc>Coriander seeds</desc> <quantity>1 tsp</quantity> </item> <item> <desc>Lime juice</desc> <quantity>2 tbsp</quantity> </item> <item> <desc>Butter</desc> <quantity>1 tbsp</quantity> </item> </ingredients> <servings> 3 </servings> <process> <step>Cut chicken into cubes, wash and apply lime juice and salt</step> <step>Add ginger, garlic, chili, coriander and lime juice in a separate bowl</step> <step>Mix well, and add chicken to marinate for 3-4 hours</step> <step>Place chicken pieces on skewers and barbeque</step> <step>Remove, apply butter, and barbeque again until meat is tender</step> <step>Garnish with lemon and chopped onions</step> </process> </recipe>
This time, my Perl script won't be using an "if" statement when I parse the file above; instead, I'm going to be keying tag names to values in a hash. Each of the tags in the XML file above will be replaced with appropriate HTML markup.

#!/usr/bin/perl # hash of tag names mapped to HTML markup # "recipe" => start a new block # "name" => in bold # "ingredients" => unordered list # "desc" => list items # "process" => ordered list # "step" => list items %startTags = ( "recipe" => "<hr>", "name" => "<font size=+2>", "date" => "<i>(", "author" => "<b>", "servings" => "<i>Serves ", "ingredients" => "<h3>Ingredients:</h3><ul>", "desc" => "<li>", "quantity" => "(", "process" => "<h3>Preparation:</h3><ol>", "step" => "<li>" ); # close tags opened above %endTags = ( "name" => "</font><br>", "date" => ")</i>", "author" => "</b>", "ingredients" => "</ul>", "quantity" => ")", "servings" => "</i>", "process" => "</ol>" ); # name of XML file $file = "recipe.xml"; # this is called when a start tag is found sub start() { # extract variables my ($parser, $name, %attr) = @_; # lowercase element name $name = lc($name); # print corresponding HTML if ($startTags{$name}) { print $startTags{$name}; } } # this is called when CDATA is found sub cdata() { my ($parser, $data) = @_; print $data; } # this is called when an end tag is found sub end() { my ($parser, $name) = @_; $name = lc($name); if ($endTags{$name}) { print $endTags{$name}; } } # include package use XML::Parser; # initialize parser $xp = new XML::Parser(); # set callback functions $xp->setHandlers(Start => \&start, End => \&end, Char => \&cdata); # send standard header to browser print "Content-Type: text/html\n\n"; # print HTML header print "<html><head></head><body>"; # parse XML $xp->parsefile($file); # print HTML footer print "</body></html>"; # end
In this case, I've set up two hashes, one for opening tags and one for closing tags. When the parser encounters an XML tag, it looks up the hash to see if the tag exists as a key. If it does, the corresponding value (HTML markup) is printed. This method does away with the slightly cumbersome branching "if" statements of the previous example, and is easier to read and understand.

Here's the output:



That's about it for the moment. Over the last few pages, I've discussed using Perl's XML::Parser package to process an XML file and mark up the data within it with HTML tags. However, just as there's more than one way to skin a cat, there's more than one way to process XML data with Perl. In the second part of this article, I'll be looking at an alternative technique of parsing an XML file, this time using the DOM. Make sure you come back for that one!

Note: All examples in this article have been tested on Linux/i586 with Perl 5.005. Examples are illustrative only, and are not meant for a production environment. YMMV!

 
 
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