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XML in a Nutshell: A Desktop Quick Reference [Paperback]

Elliotte Rusty Harold , W. Scott Means
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 43.95 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Jan. 11 2001 0596000588 978-0596000585 1

XML, the Extensible Markup Language, is a W3C endorsed standard for document markup. Because of its ability to deliver portable data, XML is positioned to be a key web application technology.Given the complexity and incredible potential of this powerful markup language, it is clear that every serious developer using XML for data or text formatting and transformation will need a comprehensive, easy-to- access desktop reference in order to take advantage of XML's full potential. XML in a Nutshell will assist developers in formatting files and data structures correctly for use in XML documents.XML defines a basic syntax used to mark up data with simple, human-readable tags, and provides a standard format for computer documents. This format is flexible enough to be customized for transforming data between applications as diverse as web sites, electronic data inter-change, voice mail systems, and wireless devices, to name a few.Developers can either write their own programs that interact with, massage, and manipulate the data in XML documents, or they can use off-the-shelf software like web browsers and text editors to work with XML documents. Either choice gives them access to a wide range of free libraries in a variety of languages that can read and write XML.The XML specification defines the exact syntax this markup must follow: how elements are delimited by tags, what a tag looks like, what names are acceptable for elements, where attributes are placed, and so forth. XML doesn't have a fixed set of tags and elements that are supposed to work for everybody in all areas of interest for all time. It allows developers and writers to define the elements they need as they need them.Although XML is quite flexible in the elements it allows to be defined, it is quite strict in many other respects. XML in a Nutshell covers the fundamental rules that all XML documents and authors must adhere to, detailing the grammar that specifies where tags may be placed, what they must look like, which element names are legal, how attributes attach to elements, and much more.

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Concise, accurate and sharply focused, XML in a Nutshell is a complete introduction to the essentials of the XML standard. It aims to give software developers a full understanding of how XML works, and also provides a handy reference to the version 1.0 recommendation from the W3C (Word Wide Web Consortium).

In four parts, the first part introduces XML and covers the fundamentals, including chapters on Document Type Definitions, Namespaces, and Internationalisation. The next part focuses on XML as a document format, with coverage of XHTML, XSL transformations, XPath, XLinks and XPointer, and using CSS (Cascading Stylesheets) or XSL-FO (XSL Formatting Objects). Data transmission and programming are the focus of the third part, which explains the Document Object Model and introduces SAX (the Simple API for XML). The final part is the reference section, and covers XML 1.0, XPath, XSLT, DOM, SAX and character sets.

XML is a slippery subject. It is really a family of many related specifications, most of which are still evolving, and in addition most developers need to know about several XML applications alongside the core technology. This handbook sticks mostly to the core of XML, so you should not expect more than a mention of SOAP, SVG (Scaleable Vector Graphics), or MathML, to take three examples. It is disappointing to find hardly any coverage of the XML Schema language.

For what it does cover though, XML in a Nutshell is a masterpiece of compression, laying the foundations for an excellent understanding of XML and finding space for example code and apt comments along the way. --Tim Anderson


If your interested in this technology take a look around at the existent books and don't leave this book behind! -- Calgary Oracle Users Group, March 6, 2002.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Worst explanation of XML itself, bad presentation Oct. 17 2002
By A Customer
The first 3 chapters are explained so wage that you really do not get any introduction to XML. No direct benifits of XML are explained. You feel to stop reading this book.
I forcibly continued to the next chapters....
DTD chapter is OK but not practical.
Namespaces chapter is so badly explained that I just can not explain in words. One should read that chapter and decide themselves of how to express that bad explanation. I am not finding words to explain.
THE IMPORTANT POINT IS "THEY USE UNKNOWN WORDS SUCH AS XSLT, XLink, XPath BEFORE EXPLAINING WHAT THEY ARE". In the very first chapter they explained all these in 2 lines without any meaning. I really did not understand what they are trying to explain. They use XLink, XPath etc in previous chapters and explain what they are in the next chapters. So, really you dont understand what they are using in previous chapters.
Simply, very badly written. It is complete waste of money purchasing this book. Moreover, one of the authors might have written some classical suspense novels. His explanation of subject was always comparing with something imaginatory and put you in lot of trouble. Especially first few chapters.
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5.0 out of 5 stars XML Redemption Aug. 14 2002
By P. Pham
About a year ago I bought an xml book title "Mastering XML" by Sybex to be exact, and it was a disappointment. It was so boring to read, and not only that, it got me confused on the fundumentals of what I can do with XML. Starting out on a new subject on the wrong foot was a huge let down and set back. As a result, it got me to put aside XML for months.
Months past and seeing my peers raving on with how easy it was to work with XML was more than I can beared. I wanted to get back in the game and quick. What I want was just one solid book, no boring theory, just XML to core. I want an XML book that focuses on the fundumentals, and leave all the theory and advance mumble-jumble stuffs to the programmers to sort it out in his/her own terms. With help from other reviews, I found that book!
And this is that book. It is well organized with XML internal structures and layouts. It explains how to use XML in plain simple steps, in plain english, and in plain diagrams. In just days, XML was starting to unraveled itself, and I know exactly how to use it, where to use it, and when to use it. FINALLY, xml redemption!
BTW, I agreed with the other reviewer, "If stranded on an island and allow just one XML book, this is the one."
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What I was looking for: I have some familiarity with DTDs from using them
as an occasional reference when working with HTML documents, but I have
not had to be worry about the precise and subtle details. I am considering
using XML in some (database) applications, and would need to write and
modify some limited DTDs and use various of the capabilities covered in this
book. I have substantial experience developing and using formal grammars.
Hence, I was looking for a book that would explain the "why"'s of the
language - the intuitions behind the constructs (for example, how they
were intended to be used) and what was behind the inevitable tradeoffs
in a language design.
A quick sampling of this book suggested that it might be a good fit.
However, it turned out to be what I would consider to be an early draft.
Linearization and pacing of the information is very poor:
- multiple times I could not tell whether an explanation applied
to the example above it or the one below it.
- new information would be introduced during the explanation of an
example without delineating that it was not part of the example.
- terms would be introduced in an offhanded manner and then not used until
many pages later as a key part of the definition of an important concept.
I found myself having to repeatedly searching for these items that had
not made an impression when I first read them.
- a couple of times I found the information critical to an explanation
was not presented until several paragraphs after it was used (needed).
- adding to the memory load on the reader, there were comments that
"came out of nowhere" and then went nowhere that I could tell.
Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars An in-depth XML reference Sept. 13 2001
This book's an authoritative document: covering XML basics like DTD authoring and detailed discussion of attribute types - through to the more esoteric issues of character sets and the tricky XML namespace standards.
At every step, I found it easy to follow. It's not a book for the non-computer literate though; more aimed at people with an existing basis of technical knowledge. A techie web-designer would find it a good start. About a third of the book is filled with references. I don't know why, but my heart usually sinks when I see page-filling content like this - that said, ultimately it's the reference books like this that end up covered with scribbles and post-it notes, so while they might not make good reading, they're very useful.
It touchs on all the necessary bases - XSLT, XPath, XHTML, XLink, XPointers, CSS - I could go on. This book does. Heck of a basis for future reading: after two and a half years in XML, there's stuff in here that I haven't come across before!
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Specialized reference book for XML with JAVA
This books starts out with a quick explanation and walkthrough or XML 1.0 specification that is pretty good. Read more
Published on June 24 2004 by C. A. Sines
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
This is the only XML book I have - I skimmed through several and this one was far and away the best. Read more
Published on March 26 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful when taking a course in XML.
I found this book useful for learning XML. Because XML offers a large variety of uses, this book is not well suited for beginners. pvr-consulting
Published on Aug. 19 2003 by Peter R.
5.0 out of 5 stars Much more than good value for money
The authors managed to compress an amazing amount of information in a very small amount of space, without affecting readability. Read more
Published on May 3 2003 by Foti Massimo
2.0 out of 5 stars bad organization with some typo erros.
I have read part of the book and tried to use it as a reference, but always confused with the bad organization, not to mention some typo errors. Read more
Published on Nov. 29 2002 by Osama A.O.
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-organized information in a compact format
This book continues the Nutshell tradition of putting a lot of information into a well-written, well organized format. Read more
Published on Oct. 10 2002 by "chrisinbellingham"
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Have For ALL Developers
I can't stress to you enough that this is the XML book of all XML books. I am NOT an expert in XML, but with this book, I can fumble my way through an XML application. Read more
Published on Oct. 1 2002 by Brian Yager
5.0 out of 5 stars A great XML book
This is a great book. Short and to the point. It covers a large amount of subject matter without needing thousands of pages to do it. Read more
Published on Sept. 8 2002 by "chazherr"
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful reference
The Nutshell series of books from O'Reilly have a special section of my desk established for them; no other set of books condenses so much information for reference. Read more
Published on Aug. 25 2002 by Antonio A. Rodriguez
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, compact book
My compliment for the excellent XIAN 2nd edition. I really like the short format of this book. A lot of information and clear
examples without much clutter in a few pages. Read more
Published on Aug. 13 2002 by Mark Raming
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