XML for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide Paperback – Oct 23 2000
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The Visual QuickStart Guide series from Peachpit Press is known for boiling topics down to the essentials and presenting them in an engaging, efficient way to get the reader up to speed quickly. In applying this model to XML, author Elizabeth Castro had her work cut out for her.
Fortunately for her readers, Castro has successfully identified the core components of XML and presented them in a streamlined way. XML for the World Wide Web doesn't tackle any of the advanced elements of XML technology, such as SOAP, SAX or integration with the Document Object Model (DOM). Instead, it focuses on teaching the basic nuts and bolts of creating XML documents, styling them and defining their structure.
This book moves at a fast pace. Document Type Definitions (DTD), for instance, get only 30 pages of coverage. This tight format is composed of simple examples that illustrate commands and concepts instead of pages of text. The pages are presented in a two-column format so that code fragments can be wisely placed alongside the step-by-step explanatory text. Each topic example is supplemented with one or more useful implementation tips.
For a true grasp on XML and all of its potential, you will need to follow up this introductory tutorial with more reading on the applications of the technology and case studies. But this little book is a great way to learn the basics of XML in a weekend. --Stephen W. Plain
- XML documents
- Document Type Definitions (DTDs)
- XSLT and XPath
- Cascading style sheets (CSS)
From the Back Cover
Web-maven Elizabeth Castro, who has penned Peachpit books on HTML,Perl and CGI, and Netscape, now tackles XML--an indispensable toolfor creating personalized, updated content for each visitor on yoursite. Whether you build Web pages for a living or you're taking on anew hobby, XML for the World Wide Web contains everything you need tocreate dynamic Web sites by writing XML code, developing custom XMLapplications with DTDs and schemas, transforming XML intopersonalized Web content through XSLT-based transformations, andprofessionally formatting XML documents with Cascading Style Sheets.The real power of XML lies in combining information from varioussources and generating personalized content for different visitors.Castro's easy-to-follow graphics show exactly what XML looks like,and her real-world examples explain how to transform and streamlineyour Web-site creation process by automatically updating content.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
It NEVER explains why in the world I would need to learn XML. It looks like almost all of what it shows in the book can be done with straight HTML, java script, and/or css, so why should I learn another language on top of all that????? Anything more advanced is not covered in depth, or not covered at all. Very disappointing book, I've gone through the whole thing a few times and still can't find any reason why I would need to learn this.
And as for the "examples" shown in the book, they are pathetic. You never see the beginning or end result of what they are doing! And the code is never shown fully, just a few lines of what is being done at the time. At least once at the end would have been great, but no dice.
XML is supposed to be the new standard? Well after reading this either XML is almost completely worthless, or this book just didn't teach anything. I'm still trying to figure out which.
One very important topic - even for beginners - is completely missing. This is the DOM (short for Document Object Model) that lets the programmer use the different XML nodes in a programming language such as Visual Basic. We use XML at my workplace as a means of transmitting information from a SQL Database to code modules that can operate on the information, but there is nothing in this book that is helpful here.
There is also no explanation of why the different aspects of XML are significant in the real world. After reading this book, I got the impression that the main function of XML is to format data stored in XML files for end user presentation in HTML. But XML is much more important than this.
The book will be of some use - I will be referring to it for answers to specific questions. But if this was the only XML book I had read, I would not have any good grasp of the topic. For an excellent beginner's book on XML, read 'XML Step by Step' by Michael J. Young (now in a second edition). You can really learn something there.
The Quickstart guides have always been about concise introductions on the topics presented and this book is no exception. The problem is people will come away from this book thinking they know XML and in actuality know merely the facade on the building.
To put a face on that last statement: Imagine, if you will, telling your friend all about the new candy bar you found. It was nice looking, chocolate, had little sprinkles. You go into great detail on how it looked, smelled and packaged. Your friend now likes the sound of this and everything is going great right up to the point where he asks "How did it taste?" Problem was you were so interested in a quick tour of the candy bar you forgot to taste it. That is the problem with this book in a nutshell.
'Course the other problem is that this book has a SERIOUS political agenda (the saving of Animal species) on nearly every page and in almost if not all examples. This is not a big issue, but in a book which already is marginal in quality, being preached to about how we need to save animal X or Y or they will all DIE!! is a bit much. Bad form, in my opinion. If an author wants to make a political point then write a political book. I don't mind a bit of an agenda, we all have one, but being beaten with it page after page is what made the final choice for me in NOT using this book in my XML classes.
Thanks for your time, Jim
In general, the visual quickstart books try and teach you by example, without explaining the necessary background theory. They try to "dumb down" the material for the reader, which is a bad thing in my opinion for something like a computer or markup language. They are adequate for getting quickly up to speed with a topic for something like a high school assignment, if your interest in the technology is only for the short term. If you are going to use what you are reading for real world projects however, these books are not adequate, you will feel like you have wasted your money. I also did not feel that the author had a solid grasp of the material, in contrast to the authors of the O'Reilly book.
The O'Reilly books for example explain WHY things are the way they are, and in a far more clear manner too. Plus, they make much better reference books. Basically, there are a lot of junk books out there, and trying to find decent ones is hard.
In conclusion, get this book if you are very short on $$$ and need to cram some knowledge for the short term. Get a decent book if you need to learn XML for real projects, and want a good reference book too.
Most recent customer reviews
I love "Visual Quickstart Guide" books because I'm a visual person. They're pretty much the only books that I can use to teach myself computer stuff. Read morePublished on Sept. 21 2007 by A. Kiyomiya
This is a decent reference guide, but uncomfortably out of date. While the author keeps her site updated for latest changes, why buy a book when you need to read the most up to... Read morePublished on May 7 2004 by Kawika
XML, as is explained in the book, is not ready for web pages. However, web page developments are evolving toward XML. Elizabeth Castro explains what that future would look like. Read morePublished on Jan. 19 2004
The first reference book I reach for.
Like most Peachpit books, this XML guide is low on fluff and high on useful, easy to understand info. Read more
I had high hopes for this book, But I have come away disappointed. I used Castro's HTML book to learn that language, and I was favorably impressed. Read morePublished on June 5 2003 by Amazon Customer
I've read some of Elizabeth Castro's other books and been fairly satisfied. Her strength has generally been showing basic material and then showing how it would look. Read morePublished on April 1 2003 by J. Hahn
Money is OK.... :)
This is a book written by and for HTML coders. It doesn't teach the gist of XML or guide you to do anything that really needs XML. Read more
Great overall resource for learning and understanding XML. This is a great place to start if you're not sure how to use XML in your development endeavours. Read morePublished on Jan. 9 2003 by Robert N. Schroeter
This book is geared more towards the "For Dummies" crowd. It presents the basics and has an example for almost every concept it covers. It is also very cheap. Read morePublished on Aug. 1 2002 by J. Hayes
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