There are countless things powered by XML documents. One of these things is a slide show background feature in Gnome, the GUI that powers many Linux distributions. With this feature, you can setup your desktop backgrounds to automatically change at specified intervals. It’s a pretty spiffy feature. Equally impressive, however, is how I ran across multiple ways to accomplish the same creation of the XML document.
Out of the box, Gnome powered distros include a space themed version of the background slide show feature. Ubuntu 10.10 is one of the more popular Gnome powered Linux distributions, and the folks at heldpeskgeek.com wrote an article about customizing this feature with your own images in Ubuntu. This tutorial is pretty straightforward, and not worth repeating here, so check it out for yourself if you’re interested. It’s also pretty easily replicated in other Gnome powered distributions, like Fedora. While the above mentioned tutorial focuses on manually re-creating the XML document that powers this changing background feature (using the supplied space themed version as a template), the folks at command line kung fu brought forth their own semi-automatic command line driven variation of this task. As they put it, the end result XML may not be as pretty, but it works!
The command line kung fu approach to creation of this XML file was a real eye opener to me. Obviously, the commands executed are a kin to the auto-generation of XML I have done countless times in various programming languages. What makes this scenario different, however, is that the command line approach makes XML creation seem so much more seamless into my normal computer use. XML is powering so much of what we utilize daily, but how often do we actually get the opportunity or are even forced to work with the XML document directly? What other everyday or unique uses of XML are there? What are some interesting ways you’re working with XML? Let us know in the comments!