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Beginning XML Paperback – May 21 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1080 pages
  • Publisher: Wrox; 4 edition (May 21 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470114878
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470114872
  • Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 18.2 x 23.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #258,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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Format: Paperback
I actually really liked the first four chapters of the text. It guided you to "Why learn xml?" over nicely to the first steps to writng code in xml. Yeah, after the first four chapters it got a little dry. But what you see is what you get- A great programmers to programmers guide!!
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Amazon.com: 16 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
An XML book to start with Dec 18 2008
By Tom Iancu - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Hello everybody.
Having more than 14 yrs experience in all kind of IT techies, I always had a problem when it came to XML: too big of a confusing terminology and concepts that were difficult to understand. Aside from being a markup language used for structuring data I did not know too much. I plunged into all sort of documentation available on the web, browsed a book or two either form my friends' bookshelves or in a bookshop, but stil questions like "what is the difference between a DTD and a schema" or "should I use URL or URN for a namespace and, in the end, what is a namespace" left unanswered.
Two days ago I had the opportunity to borrow this book from a friend of mine, old-time programmer and IT PM, and I couldn't left it out of my hands.
So, first advice, start with this book if you want to understand basics of XML.
It starts from the scratch, but assuming you have some knowledge about markup, web technologies and, especially, some more insight into HTML and text tagging, but, otherwise, the content is so well written and refined that you will not have any problem in understanding the concepts.
You need a good XML editor. I downloaded XMLSpy trial version from Alltova but I think any good XML editor will do. You will need it to write down and test the collection of examples that the book is filled with.

After you got your XML editor, you may start reading the book, "pencil in hand" to try all the examples provided. By the way, I reached page 183 (out of 1000+) and no typos encountered yet. The code within the examples is very well written, no mistakes up to now.

Since I read only a quarter of the information, I will stick to the chapters I went through wo far.

Introduction and Chapter 1: You will be introduced in the universe of files and information contained in files and a brief - but solid - history of markup is presented, altogether with the rationale behind SGML and other technologies. Then you will be smoothly transported to the world of XML and important questions like "what is XML?", "what does XML offer?", "what is a hierarchy and what is useful for?" etc., will be answered. Then you will be presented the origins of XML standards and, very important, the uses of XML, situations when it is not indicated, advantages and disadvantages. The information is very clear, efficiently structured, no redundancy in phrases and exact, refined wording is used throughout the paragraphs. Do not skip this introductions because here are presented very important concepts that will help you understand future information. The introduction is where most readers should begin. The first three chapters introduce some of the goals of XML as well as the specific rules for constructing XML. Once you have read this part you should be able to read and create your own XML documents. In chapter 1, the authors cover some basic concepts, introducing the fact that XML is a markup language (a bit like HTML) whereby you can define your own elements, tags, and attributes (known as a vocabulary). You'll see that tags have no presentation meaning--they're just a way to describe the structure of the data.

Chapter 2 - Well Formed XML - gives you a very solid understanding of rules of writing XML code, including attributes, elements, comments, XML declarations, illegal characters, etc. In addition to explaining what well-formed XML is, it offers a look at the rules that exist (the XML 1.0
and 1.1 Recommendations) for naming and structuring elements--you need to comply with these rules in order to produce well-formed XML.

Chapter 3 - This chapter was invaluable for me because I have - FINALLY! - understood what a namespace is in XML. Because XML tags can be made up, one needs to avoid name conflicts when sharing documents. Namespaces
provide a way to uniquely identify a group of tags, using a URI. This chapter explains how to use namespaces. Excellent info !

Chapter 4 - Another invaluable chapter, for me, about Document Type Definitions (DTDs). With this chapter, you will be introduced to part II of the book, called "validation". This Part of the book introduces you to DTDs, XML Schemas, and RELAX NG: three languages that define custom XML vocabularies. It will show you how to utilize these definitions to validate your XML documents. Thus, you will understand immediately that DTDs, schemas and compact syntaxes are used for XML validation. In addition to the well-formedness rules you learn in Part I, you will most likely want to learn how to create and use different XML vocabularies. In chapter 4, you will learn how you can specify how an XML document should be structured, and even provide default values, using Document Type Definitions (DTDs). If XML conforms to the associated DTD, it is known as valid XML. This chapter covers the basics of using DTDs.

Chapter 5 - XML Schemas - A very interesting discussion about differences between DTDs and Schemas used for XML validation. This is crucial for you to grasp understanding of coding context when DTDs are more indicated than Schemas and vice-versa. XML Schemas, like DTDs, enable you to define how a document should be structured. In addition to
defining document structure, they enable you to specify the individual datatypes of attribute values and element content (see chapter 2 for these concepts). The most important difference: they are a more powerful alternative to DTDs.

So this is where I reached by now.
However, based on the quality of information I encountered so far, I doubt I will experience any unpleasant surprises regarding the quality of the content in the remainder of the book. However, I would strongly recommend this book for beginners into XML or for those that have difficulties in understanding the concepts related to XML. And don't forget to get and install a good XML editor.

Five stars !

cheers
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Horribly Written, Difficult to Follow Dec 15 2009
By Joe Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was used as the text book for a college "Introduction to XML" class I just finished. This being my first and only exposure to XML, I have to say it is horribly written. The information is incredibly disjointed and hard to follow. Yes, there are ample examples of code in the book, but not much explanation of why you have to do certain things. Some key terms were used throughout the book without ever giving a clear explanation, or any explanation at all, of what they meant. Maybe it's because there are eight authors and they didn't talk to each other when they were writing it, I don't know. I've taken three college programming classes in the recent past, up to intermediate Java programming, and have never had as much difficulty understanding a text book. I would not recommend this book to anyone, although it's admittedly the only XML book I've read, so I really don't know how it compares to others.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Wordy and Badly Written and Organized May 21 2009
By Robert - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've never read a tech book that contained so much useless prose. The authors will often spend pages and pages explaining the simplest concepts, thus making things seem more complicated than need be. Yet they will often gloss over complicated subjects in a few sentences. And it's probably one of the worst organized manuals ever. The authors take the approach, "lets show them how this new concept looks when completely finished, we'll summarize the key concepts (often inserting critical info only found on that page), and then we'll go in-depth later in the chapter (of course omitting the critical info mentioned earlier)." OMG this is frustrating. This makes for a structure where topic A may have some coverage on page 50 -- then more topics -- critical info on topic A -- more topics -- stuff we forgot to include earlier on topic A... you get the picture. I realize a completely linear approach may be impossible, but come on! This book's only redeeming feature is the fact it touches on so many XML concepts.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Excellent and Comprehensive Jan. 4 2010
By Klod - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is the best comprehensive introduction to XML (XML, namespaces, schemas, XSL and styles, XML in databases, XML web services, and more). I checked over 10 similar books, but this one surpass the value of any of them. But be aware that this book is an introduction (Well, maybe more than an introduction). It will be necessary other more specific material for advanced concepts (the 10% of other topics that you will need once in a lifetime). I recommend this book as a starter for XML.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Very Thorough and Useful Resource Nov. 19 2011
By Robert Hieger - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book will serve as a very good resource for any budding web developer. Among its strong points are the fact that several important technologies such as XPath, XQuery, XSLT and SAX are covered giving very usable tools to beginners.

Among the weaker points for the book are its presentation. The choice of body text font is so small as to be hard on the eyes of all but the youngest readers. I do not suggest Braille text, but striking a balance at a somewhat larger font for body text is a worthy trade-off, despite the additional pages that would result. It is in my opinion more important to foster learning at a slightly greater expense than to make a book less accessible.

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