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My self-education: A list by Daniel J. Fawcett, A Life-long learner

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XML How to Program (1st Edition)
by Harvey M. Deitel, Paul J. Deitel, T. R. Nieto, Ted Lin, Praveen Sadhu

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Book Info
Offers a careful explanation of XML-based systems development, for faculty, students, and professionals. Includes extensive pedagogic features, including Internet resources. The CD-ROM contains thousands of hyperlinks and other information. System requirements: Pentium 133 MHz+ processor, Windows 95+ or Linux 6.0+, CD-ROM drive and Internet access. Softcover.

From the Inside Flap

Live in fragments no longer. Only connect.
Edward Morgan Forster

Welcome to the exciting world of XML! This book is by an old guy and four young guys. The old guy (HMD; Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1967) has been programming and/or teaching programming for 40 years. The four young guys (PJD; MIT 1991, TRN; MIT 1992, TML; Carnegie Mellon 2001, PS; Northeastern 2000) have each been programming and/or teaching programming for many years. The old guy programs and teaches from experience; the young guys do so from an inexhaustible reserve of energy. The old guy wants clarity; the young guys want performance. The old guy seeks elegance and beauty; the young guys want results. We got together to produce a book we hope you will find informative, challenging and entertaining. Why We Wrote XML How to Program

Today, XML is arguably the hottest technology in the computer industry. Therefore, university professors are eager to incorporate XML into their undergraduate and graduate Internet, Web, e-business and e-commerce curricula. Professionals are eager to use XML in their industrial-strength information-technology applications. Students are highly motivated by the fact that they are learning a leading-edge technology (XML) that will be immediately useful to them as they leave the university environment and head into a world where the Internet and World Wide Web have a massive prominence.

After mastering the material in this book, students will be well prepared to take advantage of the Internet and the Web as they take upper-level courses and venture into the rapidly changing programming world.

XML How to Program is the latest book in the Deitel/Prentice Hall How to Program series. It is distinguished by its focus on XML-based application development using programming languages such as Java, VBScript and Perl.

We have syntax-colored the code throughout the book. The key focus of this book is applications development with XML. Our audiences care about XML processing on the client, XML processing on the server, using XML encoded data as a database, etc.

Many XML books are reference manuals with exhaustive listings of features. That is not our style. We concentrate on creating real, working applications. We provide the live-code™ examples on the CD accompanying this book (and on deitel) so that you can run the applications and see the results.

We are excited about the enormous range of possibilities XML has to offer. We performed extensive research for this book and located hundreds of Internet and Web resources (which we provide as live links on the CD-ROM that accompanies this book and on deitel) to help you learn about XML and its related technologies. These links include general information, tutorials and demonstrations. Please read the tour of the book in Chapter 1 to familiarize yourself with the XML technologies we present.

A cutting-edge technology, XML is constantly evolving. This creates tremendous challenges for us as authors, for our publisher—Prentice Hall, for instructors, and for students and professional people.

We have worked hard to create useful live-code™ examples to help you master XML quickly and effectively. All of the code examples are on the accompanying disk and are available for free download from our Web sites:

deitel prenhall/deitel Teaching Approach

XML How to Program contains a rich collection of examples and exercises drawn from many fields to provide the student with a chance to solve interesting real-world problems. The book concentrates on the principles of good software engineering and stresses clarity. We avoid arcane terminology and syntax specifications in favor of teaching by example. The book is written by educators who spend most of their time writing about and teaching edge-of-the-practice programming topics.

Live-Code™ Teaching Approach
The book is loaded with live-code™ examples. This is the focus of the way we teach and write about programming, and the focus of our multimedia Cyber Classrooms and Web-Based Training Courses as well. Each new concept is presented in the context of a complete, working program immediately followed by one or more windows showing the program's input/output dialog. We call this style of teaching and writing our live-code™ approach. We use programming languages to teach programming languages. Reading these programs is much like entering and running them on a computer.

XML How to Program shows how to create Web sites starting with HTML programming, then rapidly proceeding to programming in XML. HTML and XML are considered to be markup languages rather than programming languages, but many of our examples use XML in the context of Java, VBScript, Active Server Pages, Perl and JavaScript. For those readers who wish to review these programming technologies, we include full-chapter introductions to VBScript, Active Server Pages, Perl and Java. The Java treatment is especially substantial.

World Wide Web Access
All of the code for XML How to Program (and our other publications) is on the Internet free for download at the Deitel & Associates, Inc. Web site -- deitel

Please download all the code and run each program as you read the text. Make changes to the code examples and immediately see the effects of those changes. It is a great way to learn programming. Note: You must respect the fact that this is copyrighted material. Feel free to use it as you study, but you may not republish any portion of it in any form without explicit permission from Prentice Hall and the authors.

Each chapter begins with a statement of Objectives. This tells students what to expect and gives them an opportunity, after reading the chapter, to determine if they have met these objectives. It is a confidence builder and a source of positive reinforcement.

The learning objectives are followed by quotations. Some are humorous, some are philosophical, and some offer interesting insights. Our students enjoy relating the quotations to the chapter material. Many of the quotations are worth a "second look" after you read each chapter.

The chapter Outline helps students approach the material in top-down fashion. This, too, helps students anticipate what is to come and set a comfortable and effective learning pace.

Example XML documents (with Program Outputs)
We present features in the context of complete, working XML documents. This is the focus of our teaching and our writing. We call it our live-code™ approach. Each Web document is followed by the outputs produced when the document is rendered in a Web browser (We use both Microsoft's Internet Explorer 5 and Netscape 6) and its scripts are executed. This enables students to confirm that the Web pages are rendered as expected. Reading the book carefully is much like entering the code and rendering these documents on a computer. The documents range from just a few lines of code to substantial examples with several hundred lines of code. Students should download all the code for the book from our Web site, and run each program while studying that program in the text.

An abundance of charts, line drawings and program outputs is included.

Programming Tips
We have included programming tips to help students focus on important aspects of program development. We highlight these tips in the form of Good Programming Practices, Common Programming Errors, Testing and Debugging Tips, Performance Tips, Portability Tips, Software Engineering Observations and Look-and-Feel Observations. These tips and practices represent the best we have gleaned from a total of almost eight decades of programming and teaching experience. One of our students—a mathematics major—told us that she feels this approach is like the highlighting of axioms, theorems and corollaries in mathematics books; it provides a foundation on which to build good software.

Good Programming Practices
Good Programming Practices are highlighted in the text. They call the students attention to techniques that help produce better programs. When we teach introductory courses to nonprogrammers, we state that the "buzzword" of each course is "clarity, " and we tell the students that we will highlight (in these Good Programming Practices) techniques for writing programs that are clearer, more understandable and more maintainable. Common Programming Error
Students learning a language—especially in their first programming course—tend to make certain kinds of errors frequently. Focusing on these Common Programming Errors helps students avoid making the same errors. It also helps reduce long lines outside instructors' offices during office hours! Performance Tips
In our experience, teaching students to write clear and understandable programs is by far the most important goal for a first programming course. But students want to write the programs that run the fastest, use the least memory, require the smallest number of keystrokes, or dazzle in other nifty ways. Students really care about performance. They want to know what they can do to "turbo charge" their programs. So we have include Performance Tips to highlight opportunities for improving program performance. Portability Tips
Software development is a complex and expensive activity. Organizations that develop software must often produce versions customized to a variety of computers and operating systems. So there is a strong emphasis today on portability, i.e., on producing software that will run on a variety of computer systems with few, if any, changes. Achieving portability requires careful and cautious design. There are many pitfalls. We include Portability Tips to help students write portable code. Software Engineering Observations
The Software Engineering Observations highlight techniques, architectural issues and design issues, etc. that affect the architecture and construction of software systems, especially large-scale systems. Much of what the student learns here will be useful in upper-level courses and in industry as the student begins to work with large, complex real-world systems. Testing and Debugging Tips
This "tip type" may be misnamed. When we first decided to incorporate Testing and Debugging Tips, we thought these tips would be suggestions for testing programs to expose bugs and suggestions for removing those bugs. In fact, most of these tips tend to be observations about programming capabilities and features that prevent bugs from getting into programs in the first place. Look-and-Feel Observations
We provide Look-and-Feel Observations to highlight graphical user interface (GUI) conventions. These observations help students design their own graphical user interfaces to conform with industry norms.

Each chapter ends with additional pedagogical devices. We present a thorough, bullet-list-style Summary of the chapter. This helps the students review and reinforce key concepts.

We include in a Terminology section an alphabetized list of the important terms defined in the chapter—again, further reinforcement.

Self-Review Exercises and Answers
Extensive self-review exercises and answers are included for self-study. This gives the student a chance to build confidence with the material and prepare for the regular exercises. Students should attempt all the self-review exercises and check their answers.

Exercises (Solutions in Instructor's Manual)
Each chapter concludes with a set of exercises including simple recall of important terminology and concepts; writing individual statements; writing small portions of XML documents and program; and writing complete XML documents. Instructors can use these exercises to form homework assignments, short quizzes and major examinations. The solutions for most of the exercises are included in the Instructor's Manual and the Instructor's CD available only to instructors through their Prentice-Hall representatives. NOTE: Please do not write to us requesting the instructor's manual. Distribution of this publication is strictly limited to college professors teaching from the book. Instructors may obtain the solutions manual only from their regular Prentice Hall representatives. We regret that we cannot provide the solutions to professionals. Solutions to approximately half of the exercises are included on the XML Multimedia Cyber Classroom CD (available in bookstores and computer stores; please see the last few pages of this book or visit our Web site at deitel for ordering instructions). If you purchased this book as part of The Complete XML Training Course, you should have also received the XML Multimedia Cyber Classroom CD. If you purchased only the book, you can purchase the Cyber Classroom CD separately—please see the ordering instructions at the end of the book.

Index Entries
We have included an extensive Index at the back of the book. This helps the student find any term or concept by keyword. The Index is useful to people reading the book for the first time and is especially useful to practicing programmers who use the book as a reference. The terms in the Terminology sections generally appear in the Index (along with many more index items from each chapter). Students can use the Index in conjunction with the Terminology sections to be sure they have covered the key material of each chapter.

"Double Indexing" of Live-Code™ Examples and Exercises
XML How to Program has many live-code™ examples. We have "double indexed" each of the live-code™ examples. For every source-code program in the book, we took the figure caption and indexed it both alphabetically and as a subindex item under "Examples." This makes it easier to find examples using particular features.

An extensive bibliography of books, articles and online documentation is included to encourage further reading. Software Included with XML How to Program

The CD-ROM at the end of this book contains a variety of software, including Microsoft Internet Explorer 5, Apache Xalan (for Java), FOP and Xerces, W3C Amaya Web browser and Sun Microsystems' JAXP. The CD also contains the book's code examples and an HTML Web page with links to the Deitel & Associates, Inc. Web site, the Prentice Hall Web site and the many Web sites listed in the Web resources sections of the chapters. If you have access to the Internet, the Web page on the CD can be loaded into your World Wide Web browser to give you quick access to all the resources.

If you have any questions about using this software, please read the introductory documentation on the CD-ROM. Additional information is available at our Web site: deitel. We do not provide technical support for the software application programs. However, if you have any technical questions about the installation of the CD, please email They will respond promptly. XML Programming Multimedia Cyber Classroom and The
Complete XML Programming Training Course

We have prepared an optional interactive, CD-ROM-based, software version of XML How to Program called the XML Multimedia Cyber Classroom. It is loaded with features for learning and reference. The Cyber Classroom is wrapped with the textbook at a discount in The Complete XML Training Course. If you already have the book and would like to purchase the XML Multimedia Cyber Classroom separately, please call 1-800-811-0912 and ask for ISBN# 0-13-089555-5.

The CD has an introduction with the authors overviewing the Cyber Classroom's features. The live-code™ example Web documents in the textbook truly "come alive" in the Cyber Classroom. With many of the examples, you can simply click the lightning bolt icon and the document will be loaded into a Web browser and rendered. You will immediately see the program's outputs. If you want to modify a document and see the effects of your changes, simply click the floppy-disk icon that causes the source code to be "lifted off" the CD and "dropped into" one of your own directories so that you can edit the document and try out your new version. Click the speaker icon for an audio that talks about the document and walks you through the code.

The Cyber Classroom also provides navigational aids including extensive hyperlinking. The Cyber Classroom remembers in a "history list" recent sections you have visited and allows you to move forward or backward in that history list. The thousands of index entries are hyperlinked to their text occurrences. You can key in a term using the "find" feature and the Cyber Classroom will locate occurrences of that term throughout the text. The Table of Contents entries are "hot," so clicking a chapter name takes you to that chapter.

Students like the solved problems from the textbook that are included with the Cyber Classroom. Studying and running these extra programs is a nice way for students to enhance their learning experience.

Students and professional users of our Cyber Classrooms tell us they like the interactivity and that the Cyber Classroom is an effective reference because of the extensive hyperlinking and other navigational features. We recently had an e-mail from a person who said that he lives "in the boonies" and cannot take a live course at a university, so the Cyber Classroom was a good solution to his educational needs.

Professors tell us that their students enjoy using the Cyber Classroom, spend more time on the course and master more of the material than in textbook-only courses. Also, the Cyber Classroom helps shrink lines outside professors' offices during office hours. We have also published the C++ Multimedia Cyber Classroom (3/e), the Visual Basic 6 Multimedia Cyber Classroom, the Java 2 Multimedia Cyber Classroom 3/e, the Internet and World Wide Web Programming Multimedia Cyber Classroom, e-Business and e-Commerce Multimedia Cyber Classroom and the Perl Multimedia Cyber Classroom.

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Product Details
  • Paperback: 934 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; Bk&CD-Rom edition (December 21, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 0130284173
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.0 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds. (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: based on 16 reviews.
  • Sales Rank: #45,384 in Books
  • (Publishers and authors: improve your sales)

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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:

Very clear, good learning book - not perfect though., May 15, 2002
Reviewer:Lev Weinstock (Albuquerque, NM USA) - See all my reviews
I much enjoyed this book as the presentation of complex topics is made very clear. I feel that this book helped me to understand several topics that I never fully understood before (for instance XLink).

Generally the approach in this book is to give a clear and concise coverage of each important topics. This is the best approach to learn but reader should be aware that the coverage is not exhaustive enough for the book to serve as reference. In fact I would have prefered that the author added complete reference on several topics (XML DOM, XPath, XSLT, XSLFO) instead of the 'bonus programming chapter'.

The book is catered for programmers. As a result the table of content will satisfy programmers (unlike many beginning XML books it gives ample coverage of XML APIs) but examples are sometimes non-trivial and written in high-level programming languages. Although generally, it must be said that effort has been made to use various programming languages (i.e. Perl, Java, ASP, etc) so that everybody should find some useful examples.

I would have prefered additional coverage of XML services, SOAP, etc. Also, I found that several chapters (Programming java, programming Perl, etc.), while not useless, were clearly off topic and added to fill-in pages. Only other criticism is that the book is really quite expensive. However, it is one of the best book to LEARN xml (even though you may require additional reference to use it).

One last thing: do not buy the CD ROM training kit of the book. The CD ROM included is very disappointing.

Edit: I wrote this review a while back. Since then, I revisited the book and I must say that it does appear dated. In particular the coverage of schema (an important topic) fails to suitably cover the W3C Schema recommendation and focusses mostly on Microsoft's version of schema which are now hardly used. For this reason, I would recommend another book instead (for instance, Beginning XML from Wrox) until the publisher comes with an updated edition.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:

Solid XML Book, August 9, 2004
Reviewer:The Programming Don (Maryland, USA) - See all my reviews
I read some of the other reviewer's comments on the book and I agree with some and disagree with others. In comparison to other popular XML books it's not perfect but it's solid. If you are like me, a beginning XML programmer then you need to learn XML hands on and the book gives just that. Giving you examples and problems to apply what you just read is the best way to learn and thats what this book does. I read the "XML by Example" by Marchal and although that was a solid book also, it doesnt give you the material or examples for YOU to practice. Marchal doesnt offer the code samples for download either. One reviewer said that in order to complete this book's self review exercises you have to use outside sources. This is true but think about it...what better way to learn than by being challenged?

I also read some of Erik T. Wray's (O'reilly series) XML book. That book is the better of all 3 books in my opinion but again it doesnt offer you that hands on material that I need. Love or hate the Deitel's books, the bottom line is that until these other authors challenge the enthusiast on whatever topic they are writing about people will always turn to these books. Yes the line by line styles are annoying but you know exactly what functions, (tags in this case) the author is referencing. Theory is great but the only way you will truly know any language you learn is by doing it! Last but not least I DO NOT WORK FOR THE COMPANY!!!!!!

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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful:

Not suitable for self-teaching, barely good for classroom, August 4, 2003
Reviewer:Carl Anderson (Lincoln Park, MI) - See all my reviews
I recently took an XML class at my university, and Deitel's "XML How to Program" was our textbook.

I have to say, it's one of my least-favorite XML books--nay, one of my least-favorite *computer* books overall.

Sure, it's thick and heavy, something many geeks like in a book (myself included). But within the covers are sometimes rambling discussions about a particular topic that leave you still wondering what you were supposed to learn, while other sections get cut short just when things are getting interesting.

My biggest beef: You won't be able to complete some of the exercises without the use of outside resources. Of course, multiple sources are great for any project, but you should certainly be able to answer a book's exercises with just that book! (Specifically, one exercise was within the XSLT chapter, and deals with a number-type element.)

When I was assigned to write an essay on a topic, XML Topic Maps, I first consulted the book. Only a couple of paragraphs as I recall. RDF, an up-and-coming XML technology, gets nary a page.

Mind you, there is a bit of good in the book, mainly with the introductory material. It's a bit Java-centric, but that's to be expected, and there is a decent Java primer in the back of the book. I also appreciate the code samples on both the CD-ROM and Deitel's Web site.

I wanted to like the book, but I found it useless for most of the projects I was working on. In a different class, we used Marchal's "XML by Example, 2/e", and I vastly prefer that book over this one. Especially with the price of the Deitel book, I can't recommend this one to anyone.

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:

GET THIS BOOK! Wonderful format, etc, March 7, 2002
Reviewer:Lee Page (NJ, USA) - See all my reviews
This book was written in easily understood jargon that helped take the mystery out of XML programming for me. Additionally, the links to actual working code allowed me the opportunity to watch it work. The self review and tests at the end of each chapter really ensures that you get everything out of the chapter that you need to continue on. Loved it. You will, too.

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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful:

Not enough to the reputation of Deitel's, January 3, 2002
Reviewer:Han Young Sue "han81102" (Seoul Korea, Rep.) - See all my reviews
I like the way Deitel teaches. I always got much help from C, C++ and java from Deitels's How to Program series. But this one is not satifactoty. Even though this book's title is xml, contents about xml technoligies are not dealt with sufficiently. Some chapters contain the introduction to asp,cgi,perl and java. The introduction to those technologies are easy to get on internet and in other books. The authors should deal with core xml technologies.
The Deitel's series are of college-text- book-sytle.I guess xml is not for college course style. If you are new to xml from non programming experience or the other programming lanuguage. I recommend the XML in a nutshell by Rusy Harold.

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful:

A Big Waste, November 10, 2001
Reviewer:Keith Kramer (Ellicott City, Md United States) - See all my reviews
This book is a big waste of money. Besides being very expensive, most of the book covers other subjects other than XML, with little relevance to XML. Although there is some useful information on using XML with Java, there is way too much information on the Microsoft implementation of XML, (when the book actually gets around to mentioning XML) and the standardized W3 version of XML seems to be included as an afterthought. The reviewers who gave this book such a high rating probably didn't read the book very well, or are hired by the publisher. A much better book is the Liz Castro Quickstart guide to XML (for a fourth of the price of the Deitel!), although it is centered around the W3's standard for XML, and doesn't mention Microsoft's implementation. Castro text, however, is more suited to learning from the ground up. The Deitel text is a disaster and I wish that I had just kept my money.

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