NewtFire logo: a mosaic rendering of a firebelly newt
newtFire {dh|ds}
Maintained by: Elisa E. Beshero-Bondar (ebb8 at Creative Commons License Last modified: Sunday, 06-Aug-2017 18:16:41 EDT. Powered by firebellies.

Before you begin

Before beginning this assignment, you should prepare your workspace: think about where you want to do your coding homework this semester. You will be doing most of your coding work for this course in the <oXygen/> XML Editor. This is installed in the campus computer labs, and you may also install it on any other computer(s) you plan to work with this semester. Also, before beginning homework assignments, you need to read the related tutorials we have posted (plus notes you took in class) and keep these open and handy to consult as you are working. For the very first assignment, here is what you will need:


This assignment should give you experience with:

  1. Writing well-formed XML using elements and attributes.
  2. Making decisions in how to write XML so that it binds related kinds of information together by:
    • Thinking of elements and attributes working together (like file folders with labels attached).
    • Nesting elements that relate to each other.
  3. Using basic features of the <oXygen/> software environment.


First, read this recipe for gazpacho soup, and pretend you are filing it with hundreds of other recipes that you need to fit a set purpose, such as running a restaurant, in which you need to keep track of kinds and quantities of ingredients required. XML is written to store information, and when we apply it to a situation with numbers and units, like with coding recipes, the code we write can help make computerized calculations, and help optimize searching across a collection for particular kinds of ingredients. Your code might be designed to help categorize ingredients by what part of the grocery store they can be found in. The challenge of the assignment is to write code that helps categorize ingredients, mark necessary equipment, and stages for processing, but the system you develop is up to you.

Coding the document in <oXygen/>

Curating the document: Suggestions for XML markup

Frequently the XML code we write is designed for digital curation, for preserving and collecting resources. Usually we would not rewrite the base text of a recipe like this, but we would apply markup around passages, so that our markup supplies some information in a more systematic way. For example, spaces and formatting on the page tell our human eyes something about the document, like how to distinguish each item on a list. That formatting information is not preserved in XML, and so one of the first things we mark are the structural pieces. What are the important parts of this recipe that you need to distinguish from other parts? Use XML markup to tag those. Then, what is the important information that you can label with markup? Try not to write markup that copies the same words and phrases in the text: think of categories and standard units you can supply so that your markup adds new value to the text.

Sidenote: If you are looking for some ideas for your code, you might take a look at Fork the Cookbook, a GitHub-based recipe center that has worked out a system for contributors to store volumes and measures, and tracking instructions. (We will be learning how to work with GitHub in this class, too.)

There is no single way to do this exercise, but we want you to think about how you nest levels of information (elements within elements), and the relationship between elements and attributes in XML.

When, where, and how to submit the assignment

Check and make sure you saved your file following our homework file naming rules, including giving it a .xml file extension. Submit your XML file on Courseweb, in the folder labelled “Upload Assignments Here”, before our next class.