(I am a developer who has been designing and implementing XML applications for more than 8 years, always searching for more background information)
In the very beginning of the introduction, Gavin states "This book is for beginners", and then "the target audience is anyone wishing to know brief details of XML and database technology" and then "Anyone involved with either XML or database technology, from the novice all the way through to the expert, would benefit from reading this book." I decided to ignore what to me seemed apparent inconsistency and went on.
In the first chapter I learn "XML can, in some respects, be considered an extensible form of HTML." I wonder if the author has ever heard of SGML or profiles. Under XML syntax I find "the optional second line contains a stylesheet reference, if a style sheet is in use." I put aside my immediate question pertaining to the validity of one-line XML documents and just wonder if the author knows that there are other means to associate style sheets with XML documents.
The subchapter makes no mention of comments and does not describe what a processing statement is or how it varies from elements. The description of nesting is difficult to understand. And I find "All elements must have a closing element." Has the author really never seen an empty tag? Then he says,
"Exceptions to this rule is the XML definitional element at the beginning of the document, declaring the version of XML in exceptions, and an optional style sheet:""
At this point I put the book on the shelf to gather dust. The combination of the incorrect verb, the mislabeling of a processing statement as an element, and the basic logic conflict between the two adjacent sentences, was just more than I wanted to tolerate.
There may be some good information deeper in the book, but if the author and his proofreaders are not more careful than this, I don't have the time to risk looking for it.