With over 1,200 pages, Professional XML
is a comprehensive guide. It makes you wonder if XML has now become too big a subject for a single book. The problem is not so much XML itself but all the related technologies and applications, such as XSLT for transforming XML, SAX for parsing it and SOAP for calling remote procedures using XML messages. Some XML titles, like O'Reilly's XML in a Nutshell
, manage to be more concise by focusing only on the core of XML. The downside with such titles is that you will need further resources in order to get an idea of how XML can usefully be put to work. Professional XML
is better in this respect, because it is more wide ranging and has case studies and examples.
The early sections of the book cover XML basics: syntax, validation using DTDs (Document Type Definitions) and Schema, navigation with XPath and use of XSLT. Next there is a look at programming XML through the DOM (Document Object Model), SAX 2 and through advanced XSLT. An extensive database section includes chapters on data modelling, data binding with the Java-based Castor specification and use of XQuery. The later chapters cover XML applications including SVG for scalable graphics, XSL FO (Formatting Objects) for document presentation, RDF (Resource Description Framework) for transporting meta data, SOAP and finally business-to-business messaging with Microsoft BizTalk server and with UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration).
Professional XML is a detailed if rather dry tour of XML from a developer's perspective. It maintains a fair balance between Java and Microsoft implementations of XML tools. Overall it makes a valuable one-volume resource, although most developers will want to supplement it with more specialist XML titles. --Tim Anderson
From the Publisher
This book is for developers who want to learn about new presentation technologies and how to use XML to improve content management. It is also an essential read for developers working on enterprise solutions, who want to know how to use web standards to link applications in an extensible manner, and see how emerging web services functionality can be used to enable interoperability. You can also learn how to integrate XML into existing enterprise applications, and use XML with databases.