This Gold Edition of XML Bible offers Web developers expanded coverage of the latest developments in XML technology.
Author Elliotte Rusty Harold uses a patient, step-by-step discussion that clearly points out the potential of XML without boring his readership with tons of SGML spec-speak. Harold opens quickly with a "Hello World" example to get the reader coding early, and follows that with a simple but powerful example of XML's data management benefits--presenting baseball statistics. Once you've coded your first XML documents, you'll be hooked on the technology and motivated to learn about the more sophisticated topics.
Style sheet languages are covered comprehensively to illustrate the presentation possibilities and pitfalls. An unusually long list of real-life XML applications also shows how XML is already being used, and there is in-depth coverage of the Resource Description Framework, Channel Definition Format, and Vector Markup Language. The book wraps up with a section that helps you design your own XML application from scratch.
Titling a book a bible is a bold move, but this engaging and informative guide is entitled to make this claim. --Stephen W. Plain
Topics covered: XML background, example XML applications, type definitions (DTDs), style languages, Xlinks, Xpointers, Namespaces, application planning, and XML 1.0 specification. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The chapter breakout:
Part 1 - Introducing XML - An Eagle's Eye View of XML; XML Applications; Your First XML Document; Structuring Data; Attributes, Empty-Element Tags, and XSL; Well-formedness
Part 2 - Document Type Definitions - Validity; Element Declarations; Attribute Declarations; Entity Declarations; Namespaces
Part 3 - Style Languages - CSS Style Sheets; CSS Layouts; CSS Text Styles; XSL Transformations; XSL Formatting Objects
Part 4 - Supplemental Technologies - XLinks; XPointers; XInclude; Schemas
Part 5 - XML Applications - XHTML; Modular XHTML; The Resource Directory Description Language; Scalable Vector Graphics; Designing a New XML Application; Index
I mentioned the "target audience" above. As you can tell from the chapter layout (and also in the introduction), the author is targeting XML as used in web page design. You won't find anything in here about how to write a Java program to parse out XML using one of the XML parsers available. If that's your need, don't get this book. You'll be highly disappointed. This should be used as more of a reference tool for working with XML or related technologies like DTD or XSL.
I also appreciated the author's explanation as to what went into the 3rd edition. Rather than just add more stuff to what already existed, he removed XML technology chapters that just never caught momentum, like VML or RDF.Read more ›
As a side note this book is HUGE.
After the first three chapters of this Bible you get into what is basically theory, since that is what XML is - theory (for most people anyway).
Now I'm a web developer, so I'm biased in that regard. If you are a web developer thinking of moving into the XML sphere - I have to ask why? Shouldn't you rather be learning some nice PHP or MySQL - stuff that will, you know, make your web site cool and useful instead of more (unnecessary) work for yourself?
Well I shouldn't say that (I did though didn't i?), you might be able to make an extremely complicated page out of XML if you are really, really bored. Or, you could just zap off some regular HTML that will actually work in most browsers for now and the forseable (?) future.
The best part of the book of course is that ERH (the author again) uses Baseball as his XML specification of choice - this makes it both interesting (as far as that is possible with this technology) and fun.
If you want to learn XML, pick up a copy of this hefty tome. If you aren't sure if you want to learn XML do not pick up a copy of this hefty tome as you will never read it, and even if you do you'll be unlikely to use any of it.
I like the cover - a standing robot. That's how you'll feel after 'reading' this incredibly large book. Actually you'll be sitting.
I recommend this book to every programmer who wants to pick up XML quickly and does not have lots of time.
The problem with XML is that you can use it for a lot of different things. (Hence those 1200 pages.) So people who write about it tend to be specialists in some specific area, like building XML web applications, or designing XML document schemas, etc. Or else they're markup standards wonks, good at picking out the tiny nits that make the whole concept work, but terrible at explaining what XML is *for*.
Harold, by contrast, knows his readers, and knows what they need. He makes very few assumptions about what you already know. If you know how to use a text editor (but see below for a warning) and a web browser, you're ready to go. The author leads you step by step through all the basic concepts. There are a *lot* of steps, of course. But only the first 200 pages are absolutely essential for every reader. Not everybody needs to know about Document Type Definitions, Wireless Markup Language, or Scalable Vector Graphics. Not that there's any flab here -- all the different XML applications Harold describes are widely used, and it makes sense to include a good basic intro to all of them.
Harold also avoids a mistake I myself probably would have made -- he carefully avoids dealing XML's historical baggage. XML is a limited version of SGML -- a technology that wasted decades floundering in its own complexity. For once history really is bunk.
I do have some issues, more with the publisher than with the author. The big one is the sample text files on the CD -- all with Macintosh line endings!Read more ›