Anyway, the point of all this game stuff is that a good example of an XML document is one that allows you to store trivia questions and answers in a structured format. My trivia game, Tall Tales, involves several different kinds of questions, but one of the main question types is called a "tall tale" in the game. It's a multiple-choice question consisting of three possible answers. Knowing this, it stands to reason that the XML document will need a means of representing each question plus three different answers. Keep in mind, however, that in order for the answers to have any meaning, you must also provide a means of specifying the correct answer. A good place to do this is in the main element for each question/answer group.
Don't forget that earlier in this tutorial you learned that every XML document must have a root element. In this case, the root element is named
talltales to match the name of the game. Within the
talltales element you know that there will be several questions, each of which has three possible answers. Let's code each question with an element named question and each of the three answers with the three letters
c. It's important to group each question with its respective answers, so you'll need an additional element for this. Let's call this element
tt to indicate that the question type is a tall tale. The only remaining piece of information is the correct answer, which can be conveniently identified as an attribute of the
tt element. Let's call this attribute answer. Just in case I went a little too fast with this description of the Tall Tales document, let's recap the explanation with the following list of elements that are used to describe pieces of information within the document:
talltalesThe root element of the document
ttA tall tale question and its associated answers
aThe first possible answer to a question
bThe second possible answer to a question
cThe third possible answer to a question
In addition to these elements, an attribute named
answer is used with the
tt element to indicate which of the three answers (
a, b, or
c) is correct. Also, don't forget that the document must begin with an XML declaration. With this information in mind, take a look at the following code for a complete
<tt answer="a"> <question> In 1994, a man had an accident while robbing a pizza restaurant in Akron, Ohio, that resulted in his arrest. What happened to him? </question> <a>He slipped on a patch of grease on the floor and knocked himself out.</a> <b>He backed into a police car while attempting to drive off.</b> <c>He choked on a breadstick that he had grabbed as he was running out.</c> </tt>
This code reveals how a question and its related answers are grouped within a
tt element. The answer attribute indicates that the first answer (
a) is the correct one.
All of the elements in this example are nonempty, which is evident by the fact that they all either contain text content or additional elements. Notice also how every opening tag has a matching closing tag and how the elements are all nested properly within each other. Now that you understand the code for a single question, check out Listing 2.2, a complete XML document that includes three trivia questions.
Listing 2.2. The Tall Tales Sample XML Document
1: <?xml version="1.0"?> 2: 3: <talltales> 4: <tt answer="a"> 5: <question> 6: In 1994, a man had an accident while robbing a pizza restaurant in 7: Akron, Ohio, that resulted in his arrest. What happened to him? 8: </question> 9: <a>He slipped on a patch of grease on the floor and knocked himself out.</a> 10: <b>He backed into a police car while attempting to drive off.</b> 11: <c>He choked on a breadstick that he had grabbed as he was running out.</c> 12: </tt> 13: 14: <tt answer="c"> 15: <question> 16: In 1993, a man was charged with burglary in Martinsville, Indiana, 17: after the homeowners discovered his presence. How were the homeowners 18: alerted to his presence? 19: </question> 20: <a>He had rung the doorbell before entering.</a> 21: <b>He had rattled some pots and pans while making himself a waffle in their kitchen.</b> 22: <c>He was playing their piano.</c> 23: </tt> 24: 25: <tt answer="a"> 26: <question> 27: In 1994, the Nestle UK food company was fined for injuries suffered 28: by a 36 year-old employee at a plant in York, England. What happened 29: to the man? 30: </question> 31: <a>He fell in a giant mixing bowl and was whipped for over a minute.</a> 32: <b>He developed an ulcer while working as a candy bar tester.</b> 33: <c>He was hit in the head with a large piece of flying chocolate.</c> 34: </tt> 35: </talltales>
Although this may appear to be a lot of code at first, upon closer inspection you'll notice that most of the code is simply the content of the trivia questions and answers. The XML tags should all make sense to you given the earlier explanation of the Tall Tales trivia data. You now have your first complete XML document that has some pretty interesting content ready to be processed and served up for viewing. Be sure to take a look back at Selecting an XML Editor to see how this exact same code appears within the Butterfly XML WYSIWYM XML editor.