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Professional XML [Paperback]

Mark Birbeck , Nikola Ozu , Andrew H. Watt
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 2001 Programmer to Programmer
XML has made a major impact in almost every aspect of software development. Designed as an open, extensible, self-describing language, it has become the standard for data and document delivery on the web. The panoply of XML-related technologies continues to develop at breakneck speed, to enable validation, navigation, transformation, linking, querying, description, and messaging of data.

This is the new edition of Professional XML, updated to cover the latest developments in XML. This book provides a thorough and practical grounding in the core XML technologies and shows some of the key applications of XML in computing, from presenting and adding meaning to information on the Web, through using it as a data interchange format, to enabling open business-to-business computing.

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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.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A Mixed Bag July 31 2002
It is easy to tell that this book was written by 12 different authors. The quality and writing style of each chapter varies widely. I thought the chapters on XPath, XSLT, DOM, SAX2, and SOAP were well written, but I was disappointed by some of the others.
The chapter on XML Schemas was the worst, in my opinion. This is a very important subject, but it is given the same amount of space as much less important topics. As a result, the author of this chapter tries to cover too much in too little space and ends up being quite confusing. Examples are thrown out followed by only partial explanations, and the author forgets to do some basic things like showing a sample XML document to match the sample XML Schemas in the examples. If you need to understand XML Schemas, skip this chapter and go directly to "Professional XML Schemas," which is very well written book on the subject.
This book is also too large and attempts to cover too many obscure topics. For example, it wastes a chapter on "XML Schema Alternatives" when it is clear that XML Schema is the approach that will be used by almost everyone going forward.
Finally, my standard complaint about all WROX books is that the font they use is too small! I feel like I'm reading a telephone book. Give the readers a break by taking out some of the less important chapters and increasing the font size.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Useful introduction June 13 2001
The XML declarative language, with its adaptability and expressive power, is continuing to become the language of choice for reporting and classifying information. XML is a formal grammar that captures the syntactic features of a document type definition, and its properties, syntax, and applications are discussed effectively in this book. It covers XML as formalized by the W3C and the authors show how to use XML in Web-based and database applications. Readers who have developed applications in HTML will probably view XML as somewhat more abstract, since the visual representation of the content of a document is not emphasized in XML. Readers are expected to have a background in HTML, JavaScript, Java, and ASP in order to read the book. Although XML can be learned by reading the W3C specifications, these documents are frequently difficult reading, and this book makes the learning of XML much easier than reading these specifications. They include the W3C specifications for XML 1.0 in an appendix to the book for the interested reader. The book is a little dated, since the W3C has been updating XML specs since the time of publication (especially with regard to schemas), but there is a 2nd edition coming out soon.
In Chapter 1, XML is introduced as a mark-up language and its inherent extensibility emphasized. This is followed by a detailed treatment of XML syntax in the next chapter, with emphasis placed on the hierarchical nature of XML. The authors do include a discussion of Processing Instructions (PIs) for users who want to use XML in this fashion.
Document Type Definitions (DTD) are the subject of Chapter 3, where the authors communicate effectively how DTDs formal grammar is used to specify the structure and permissible values of XML documents.
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5.0 out of 5 stars unsurpassed xml guide July 14 2000
I have bought several xml books and this one has educated me, taught me and interested me the most. There's no doubt the Wrox technical books are a match to the Oreilley in terms of readability and thoroughness. This book is a little peculiar in that it is written by several people, each contributing a separate chapter. As an introduction, it probably wouldn't be too helpful (although that wouldn't be a problem for someone with a programming background). The strengths of the book (at least what I've read so far) is the discussion of sax v. dom, the section on business applications on edi (really interesting for me), and the great reference source in the back. Can you believe I have xeroxed the css list of command options in the back--amazingly useful? The variety of writers give a fresh perspective, which can be bad and good. With the exception of the first few chapters, which give a good overview, the rest of the chapters are a grabbag of subjects, including 4 case studies. These were very useful in learning xml. It also discussed WAP, which may or may not be useful, depending on how much enthusiasm there is for that standard. For variety's sake, I also bought, XML Unleashed, a bulky book with not as much organization, but just a lot of code (unlike the professional xml book, which really explained almost everything well). XML unleashed is helpful, because its topics really don't overlap with professional xml. It discusses SMIL, parsing xml with java xml tools on the market, using asp with xml and different subsets of xml (vml, and a variety of other specialized languages specific to one discipline. Unleashed is good because it contains discussions (albeit rather brief) of several different languages. Read more ›
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good reference book, not a learning one March 20 2000
I've found this book very hard to understand as a first book on XML. If you know what XML is about but are looking for practical real-life exemples, look elsewhere. If you know XML and want to know everything about it's internal work and how to work with DTD, that would be your book.
I've also ordered the Professional XML IE5 Programmer's Reference at the same time and this book gave me an overview of what I can do with XML on the Internet and THEN I had an idea of what to do of the Professional XML book.
You have to ask you those questions : Do I need to know how to show XML with XSL, ASP, DHTML, HTML? If yes, look elsewhese first. Do I need an XML reference to know how to create XML files? If yes, look no further.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Total crap
This book is awful. I can't believe my college used it as a text. this book stuffers the same problems as every other Wrox Press book. It sucks. Read more
Published on April 26 2004 by GoClick
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring Book.!
This is a very boring book. Chapters look like well organized, but content inside is mass and hard to follow. Don't buy this book.
Published on Jan. 22 2004 by Zhongwei Xia
5.0 out of 5 stars BORING BOOK
Published on Aug. 27 2002
3.0 out of 5 stars Not suitable as teaching text
Please allow me to speak out in a straight way about the book since I think it is necessary to do it.
I chose this book for my XML course of computer science major. Read more
Published on July 14 2002 by Yu Zhou
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for beginners
For experienced XML developers, the book may be useful as a reference. However, I cannot recommend it as a tutorial. Read more
Published on June 1 2002 by Sean Peters
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good book for XML Certification . . .
This is a good book for IBM XML 141 certification. I passed my certification largely due to this book. Read more
Published on May 23 2002 by Irrational Exuberance
1.0 out of 5 stars ugly faces
please take the ugly faces off the books. this is not tabloid
Published on Dec 18 2001
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor Style and Organization
I found this book very boring and tedious reading. The style of the book seems to vary as much as the number of authors. The concepts don't smoothly flow together. Read more
Published on Nov. 17 2001
3.0 out of 5 stars Too many irons in the fire
The book covers too many topics and just few are developed in deep while others are superficially introduced because not yet standardized at the time of print. Read more
Published on Aug. 2 2001 by Skydiver
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good book to learn XML technologies
The book provides good understanding of XML technologies and basics, but falls short on applying the technologies. Read more
Published on June 26 2001
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