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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. 8 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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From Amazon

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
3.0 out of 5 stars Specialized reference book for XML with JAVA June 24 2004
This books starts out with a quick explanation and walkthrough or XML 1.0 specification that is pretty good. It is lacking a XML Schema (XSD) section as well covers very briefly the XSLT (XML Stylesheets) anyone wishing to anything with sytlesheets after reading this book will be disappointed. XPath coverage is pretty good as well as SAX, & DTD. XLink, XPointer, are talking about but nothing in depth. All example code is in JAVA. Anyone wanting specialized knowledge of ASP.NET / .NET / MS SQL usage of XML should look elsewhere (this is somewhat understandable due to the publish date.)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book March 27 2004
By A Customer
This is the only XML book I have - I skimmed through several and this one was far and away the best. You will have to know what you are trying to do and sort of figure out which parts of the book to pay attention to as there is so much there. I spent some time with DTDs only to realize they were unnecessary for what I was doing. But the book allowed me to build an application from scratch.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Useful when taking a course in XML. Aug. 19 2003
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
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5.0 out of 5 stars Much more than good value for money May 3 2003
The authors managed to compress an amazing amount of information in a very small amount of space, without affecting readability. Including coverage of XML, DTD, Namespaces, XSL, Xpath, Xlinks, DOM and much more, including Schemas (missing from previous edition). As a bonus we get reference for XML, Schemas, Xpath, XSLT, DOM and SAX. Much more than good value for money, it's a real bargain. Just not recommended to absolute newbies
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2.0 out of 5 stars bad organization with some typo erros. Nov. 30 2002
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.
personally, I don't recommend it.
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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 Well-organized information in a compact format Oct. 10 2002
This book continues the Nutshell tradition of putting a lot of information into a well-written, well organized format. The first 330 pages give a useful summary of each of the core XML standards along with short but illustrative examples. The writer's did an excellent job of covering the technical details of each technology and explaining where that technology could be applied. The final 220 pages are a good reference of the different tags and attributes of each standard. The reference also includes one of the best breakdowns of Unicode character sets I have found in a printed book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Have For ALL Developers Oct. 1 2002
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. This book will NOT teach you everything there is to know about XML. This book IS a wonderful reference to thumb through for each XML question that arises. If I had to buy one XML book to do my job, XML in a Nutshell would be the one. I own many books in the "Nutshell" series and absolutely LOVE and use them all. So if you've got a project in XML to complete, go get this book and watch how much time it saves you.
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