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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)

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Paperback, June 27 2002 --  
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XML in a Nutshell XML in a Nutshell
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Book Description

June 27 2002 0596002920 978-0596002923 Second Edition

This powerful new edition provides developers with a comprehensive guide to the rapidly evolving XML space. Serious users of XML will find topics on just about everything they need, from fundamental syntax rules, to details of DTD and XML Schema creation, to XSLT transformations, to APIs used for processing XML documents. Simply put, this is the only reference of its kind among XML books.Whether you're a Web designer using SVG to add vector graphics to web pages, or a C++ programmer using SOAP to serialize objects into a remote database, XML in a Nutshell thoroughly explains the basic rules that all XML documents -- and all XML document creators -- must adhere to, including:

  • Essentials of the core XML standards: With this book, you can develop an understanding of well-formed XML, DTDs, namespaces, Unicode, and W3C XML Schema quickly.
  • Key technologies used mainly for narrative XML documents such as web pages, books, and articles: You'll gain a working knowledge of XSLT, Xpath, Xlink, Xpointer, CSS, and XSL-FO.
  • Technologies for building data-intensive XML applications, and for processing XML documents of any kind: One of the most unexpected developments in XML has been its enthusiastic adoption for structured documents used for storing, and exchanging used by a wide variety of programs. This book will help you understand the tools and APIs needed to write software that processes XML, including the event-based Simple API for XML (SAX2) and the tree-oriented Document Object Model (DOM).
Quick-reference chapters also detail syntax rules and usage examples for the core XML technologies, including XML, DTDs, Xpath, XSLT, SAX, and DOM. If you need explanation of how a technology works, or just need to quickly find the precise syntax for a particular piece, this up-to-date edition is ready with the information.XML in a Nutshell is an essential guide for developers who need to create XML-based file formats and data structures for use in XML documents. This is one book you'll want to close at hand as you delve into XML.

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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 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


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. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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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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