Beginning XML Paperback – May 21 2007
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"…a comprehensive text for anyone who is serious about learning XML…" (International Developer, June 2005)
From the Back Cover
The perfect resource for beginning XML programmers, this guidebook clearly shows you what XML is, how to use it, and what technologies surround it. The authors build on the strengths of previous editions while covering the latest changes in the XML landscape such as XQuery, RSS and Atom, and Ajax. The most recent specifications are presented along with best practices to follow when developing XML solutions.
The fourth edition will help you quickly progress from XML basics to more advanced programming techniques. You'll delve into the state of the art for XML and databases, discover how to query XML information, retrieve data, and create new XML documents. In addition, you'll learn how to publish information on the web, design dynamic interactive graphics, and make interactive forms. You'll be able to apply this information to build robust applications in real-world situations.
What you will learn from this book
- Specific rules to follow for constructing XML
How to create and use different XML vocabularies
Steps for extracting information and converting it to HTML or other formats
Strategies for storing and retrieving XML documents
How to manipulate XML using DOM and SAX
Tips for improving communication with XML by using Ajax techniques, RSS, and SOAP
How to use CSS to add visual styles to your XML documents
Who this book is for
This book is for any programmer interested in learning how to use XML. Some knowledge of web programming or data exchange techniques is helpful but not necessary.
Wrox Beginning guides are crafted to make learning programming languages and technologies easier than you think, providing a structured, tutorial format that will guide you through all the techniques involved.See all Product Description
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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 !
1. intermediate experience with C++, dabbled with PHP and Java
2. I learned a good chunk of XML basics from the web. I bought this book because I was in a time crunch for a mini project for work.
3. So far, I've focussed on the chapters dealing with XPath and XSLT 1.0.
4. I've been using the Kindle version, 4th edition - some typos - overall, the kindle version was fine for me
5. Amazon was selling this book for five bucks - don't spend too much more than that
Most of what I've read so far, I've found on the web, but this information, while not extremely difficult to find, required some bit of persistence in terms of search effort. This book does a good job of gathering most of the basic information of XML and XSLT. It unfortunately did not cover xsl:key and only mentioned the topic with two sentences. I would recommend the book to people who want the basic information all gathered neatly into one book. This is definitely a beginner's book. It's not a long term reference book because the information is basic. In my opinion, the best way to learn XML is to have XML data and have a project (small, medium, or large) to work on.
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