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RE: [xml-dev] XML API Course Content: Yoir opinion

I'm a little surprised to see this level of programming detail in a
non-computer-science course, but it all depends what you are trying to

The main consideration in choosing what technologies to teach your students
should be the likelihood that they will need to learn some completely
different technology once they are employed, and at least one new technology
per year if they are to remain employed. The only durable skills you are
teaching are problem solving, teamwork, information gathering, etc - and of
course the ability to learn new skills. Also I would hope that they learn as
much from the choice of application to tackle (e.g. web site design) as from
the tools used to tackle it.

I do think that particularly with non-computer-scientists you should be
teaching higher-level languages rather than lower-level programming
interfaces (like PHP/DOM). That should give the students more time to
concentrate on the usability of the system they are developing rather than
getting bogged down in low-level debugging. And it's closer to industrial
good practice: the only reason for using lower-level interfaces is that you
need the performance, and your students don't.

Michael Kay

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jonas Mellin [mailto:jonas.mellin@his.se] 
> Sent: 02 October 2008 22:44
> To: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
> Subject: [xml-dev] XML API Course Content: Yoir opinion
> Dear all, I am running a course in XML API at university level. 
> Currently, it has been added to the curricula of a number of 
> non-computer scientist study programs (more informatics, web design
> etc.) and the program directors are concerned with the amount 
> of programming that is involved in the course. The reason is 
> my strong belief in that the students must range through the 
> state of-the art techniques for processing XML to be able to 
> telll future employers as well as themselves that they know 
> XML APIs. Currently, they get a briefer of XSLT,  XQuery, XML 
> Schema, DOM and SAX which they apply to three different XML 
> sources so they can compare and contrast. The students get 
> template programs in which they have to fill in details (of 
> different levels of difficulty) as well as tools for directly 
> validating if their output is correct or not. Note that XSLT, 
> XQuery etc. are not strictly APIs, but I cover them since 
> they are among the major basic ways of processing XML in my 
> view. Students typically feel that they get feedback quickly 
> and get insight in how to process XML. Strangely, they favor 
> XSLT over XQuery even though they have studies SQL before.
> The course is 25% of s semester and at basic level 
> (undergraduate) level. (In Europes, in 7,5 ECTS credits). It 
> is preceded by a course that covers the basic XML stuff 
> (well-formedness, tags, elements, attribute etc.).
> Now, one of the program directors essentially wants the 
> students to write a PHP program accessing an XML source and 
> display as HTML. He considers this to be sufficient for a 
> pass. So, we have a slight difference in opinion of what is 
> required to pass an XML API course.
> So, what is your opinion?
> --
> Carpe Diem!
> ===
> Jonas Mellin, Assistant Professor in Computer Science School 
> of Humanities and Informatics, Building E-2 University of 
> Skövde, P.O. Box 408, SE-541 28 Skövde, Sweden
> Phone: +46 500 448321, Fax: +46 500 448399
> Email: jonas.mellin@his.se, URL: http://www.his.se/melj
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