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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
DTDs
XPath 1.0
XPointer, XInclude, and XML Base
XSLT 1.0
SAX 2.0
DOM Level 2
XML Schema
SOAP 1.1
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.
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on September 16, 2002
This is the most useful XML technology reference I've come across. I do own several books on this stuff ( including the droning and disjointed Professional XML from Wrox ), and this is the only one I ever need to take off the shelf.
This is a concise and tight little reference book; examples are present, albeit short ones they do get the point across. The book's layout and organization make it easy to find information, and the typesetting offers enough contrast to let you scan a page quickly to locate the information you need. There is just a little background information on each technology - probably not enough to bootstrap yourself into a project without at least a little XML knowledge under your belt. It's a reference book, so if you already know what XML ( or XML-Schema, SOAP, SAX, or the DOM ) is you'll get the most leverage off of this book.
Overall a great book to own if you're working on XML-related projects - especially if you've got a basic understanding of XML technologies and don't require the slow pace most books use to ease you into the technology like a old man getting into a bath. :)
Highly recommended.
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on November 21, 2001
The Essential XML Quick Reference is a must-have item for any developers who work with XML. It provides a concise, easy to search reference for the core technologies of XML: namespaces, DTDs, XPath, DOM Level 2, SAX, SOAP, etc.
The book is broken up by topics. For example, one chapter covers XSLT 1.0. The chapter begins with a concise overview of XSLT. A breakdown of some of the key XSLT concepts follows. Finally, the chapter ends with a reference to every XSLT element defined in the W3C standards.
Where the book excels is that it is pure XML. It avoids getting bogged down in parser-specific issues, but instead addresses XML at a standards level. In the few places where language-specific sample code is provided, the samples are available for both the Java and COM worlds.
Another strength of the book is in its coverage of two of the most exciting XML concepts: Schemas and SOAP. The schema coverage is split into two chapters. The first deals with the base schema types and how to create simple type. The second chapter focuses on complex types and schema extension.
The SOAP chapter, like the rest of the book, stays focussed on pure XML and avoids discussion SOAP implementations from IBM, Microsoft, etc. It provides a great reference to the building blocks of a SOAP message. The only thing missing from this chapter is a reference for WSDL.
One thing to keep in mind that this is a quick reference book. It will not teach you XML. This book is a great companion to the Essential XML: Beyond Markup book also in the DevelopMentor series.
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on December 31, 2003
This isn't a "textbook" of xml -- if you want a guided introductory tutorial, look elsewhere. But if you're anything like me, once you've got past the intro stage, you need a good memory-jogger and "explain-that-to-me-quick-just-one-more-time" resource at your side while you're working on a project. That's what this book provides, and it does it brilliantly, insightfully, and without the endless, distracting and generally useless drivel of many xml books. The explanations unfailingly come right to the point, and it's rich with short, helpful examples. It's obvious the authors have really developed in the real world! There is no book on my xml shelf that gets more use (and collects less dust) than this one. Buy it and you'll be glad you did. (I'm on my second copy!)
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on April 2, 2003
The "Quick Reference" in the book's title says it all: This is a dandy quick reference of the most generally used XML schemas (including XML Schema).
If you have a reasonably clear idea what XML is and what it's used for, have a hazy notion of what XML schemas are, and need a quick overview or reminder of how the two are used together, then this is a book you'll reach for on a regular basis. Note too that the book is also delightfully current (as of March '02).
If on the other hand you're looking for an XML or XML schema tutorial or for a comprehensive guide to all the subtleties and permutations of XML schemas, this isn't the book for you. As I said, the "Quick Reference" in the title says it all.
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on June 2, 2003
Don't expect anything else or you will be dissapointed. I got some
quick reference cards that are free for download that contain basicly
the same information!
There are some code snippets and some explanitory
lines of text, but nothing that helps you understand how the different
XML constructs really work - unless you already know it and just can't
remember the name, but this is what I have code-completion in my editor for.
I would have hoped for some recipies that solve
typical problems that augment the pure reference style listing, but there's nothing like that.
For me as an XML beginner this book is not very usefull and I doubt it is for a experienced developer.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon November 30, 2001
In my home office, there is a special shelf within reach of my desk where I place those select books that are in highest demand. After I completed reading this one, it went right to that shelf. While the explanations are short, they are detailed enough to be useful and the coverage is complete. Code examples are used to illustrate most of the commands and they are well-constructed, succinct without being simple. You will not learn the components of XML by reading this book. However, if your need is for a reference that is a reminder, then this is the book for you.
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If you are an XML developer and need a quick reference manual to the myriad of XML technologies, look no further. All of the bases are covered: XML, DTD, XPath, XSLT, Schemas, SOAP, SAX, DOM. This book is now #1 on my list when I go looking for XML information. The authors truly know their stuff. Aaron and Martin are both instructors for DevelopMentor's SUPERB Guerrilla XML class (BTW...if you are looking to learn XML, I highly recommend this DevelopMentor class without reservation).
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on September 18, 2002
I got this because I didn't know XML. After reading only a few chapters, I'm now whipping out powerful and flexible XML like it's nothing! My only complaint about this book is that a lot of the code examples are in Java and VB (two languages I detest). Some examples in Python, Perl, C, or C++ would have been awesome. After reading the reviews for the other XML books, my personal experience, and from what people have told me, this is the book to get.
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on June 9, 2003
This books is quite good for covering a wide range of topics and concisely. But all the time you are reading the book, you get the doubt "What could I be missing?" - as the coverage of topics is so minimal and unattached. Though, at the end of the day, those topics require no more attention than that, to get to that wisdom it takes time and this book does not bother to get you that wisdom.
Otherwise, this is quite a good book.
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