The opening chapters offer a brief introduction to XML and DTD (Document Type Definition) files, and explain the basic concepts of parsing XML using event-driven or tree-based APIs. Next comes a long section on XML and Perl, covering the XML::Parser module, Perl and Unicode, generating and converting XML and using SOAP or XML-RPC. A parallel section shows how the same things can be achieved with XML and Python, along with a further chapter on Zope, the Python application server. PHP has a shorter section, focusing on XML parsing, working with RSS (Rich Site Summary) XML documents and XML-RPC. The last part of the book offers a chapter each on four other scripting languages: REBOL, Ruby, Tcl and AppleScript.
The snag with this book is that few developers work with all these languages, and covering so many limits the detail on any one. Even so, it is interesting to compare the differences between the various approaches, particularly between Perl and Python, which are the author's main area of expertise. There are also helpful insights on how to convert XML to and from database formats. --Tim Anderson
XML Processing with Perl, Python, and PHP teaches you to reap the special advantages of processing your XML with these and four other scripting languages, which-as you'll see-trump C, C++, and Java in a variety of ways. Along this path lie shorter development times and lower costs. At its end lie performance benefits such as superior text processing, memory management, and data modeling capabilities, as well as strategic benefits such as greater longevity and broader compatibility.
Choose the language that makes the most sense for you and move ahead. With this book's help, you'll master the execution of remote procedures, the internal modeling of XML data, the exporting of internal data into XML, and the conversion of XML to formats as varied as SQL, HTML, and proprietary configuration schemes. Application-specific examples keep you focused on the real world; at the same time, the scripting techniques you'll learn all rise above specific applications. Like XML data, they're flexible, and they'll serve you well in whatever context you're working.