Top positive review
A true gem...
on June 3, 2003
Diamonds are carbon that has been compressed in the high temperatures and pressures found far below the earth's crust in a region called the upper mantle. Because of their beauty and rarity diamonds are highly valued. Now imagine that a stack of specifications related to XML, the eXtensible Markup Language, is our carbon and that two gentlemen, Aaron Skonnard and Martin Gudgin, play the role of the upper mantle. The result would be Essential XML Quick Reference. This gem of a XML reference (sorry, couldn't help myself) is definitely worth having if you are working with XML.
The book presents reference material from the following specifications:
XML 1.0 and Namespaces
XPointer, XInclude, and XML Base
DOM Level 2
Each chapter has a brief introduction and then it dives right into the reference material. The reference text is accompanied by concrete examples that illustrate how the item is used. The SAX 2.0 and DOM Level 2 chapters provide code examples in Java and Visual Basic.
All the topics are solidly covered but I thought that the sections on XSLT, Schemas, and XPath to be a cut above. The XPath chapter I found to be especially good. It contains diagrams that provide examples of the XPath tree structure, document order, node string-values, and how axes work, along with first-rate examples of how the elements of XPath work.
While the book is aimed at being a reference it can be used, to some extent, as a tutorial on the various topics. I certainly found this to be true of the XPath chapter. I am also aware of people stating that they have used this book in a tutorial fashion to prep for the IBM XML certification test.
So, what's not to like? Very little. Since SOAP was covered I think it would have been nice to have had a section on WSDL (Web Service Description Language). There are also a few typos here and there but they don't detract from the information that is being conveyed.
This book is a sparkling reference for XML and related technologies.