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Beginning XML
Beginning XML (Paperback)
by David Hunter (Author), Jeff Rafter (Editor), Jon Pinnock (Author), Chris Dix (Author), Kurt Cagle (Author), Roger Kovack (Author)
(49 customer reviews)    

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Editorial Reviews
Beginning XML provides a complete course in the Extensible Markup Language (XML) with an unusually gradual learning curve. In fact, the introduction states that the book is "for people who know that it would be a pretty good idea to learn the language, but aren't 100 percent sure why." Despite its recognition of the fuzziness of readers' understanding of the technology, the book delivers a rather comprehensive study of XML.

Very little space is wasted detailing the history of XML and its relation to SGML, as is the case in many other titles. The argument for the importance of XML is made quickly, and the basics of well-formed syntax are tackled right off. One notable distinction of this book is its excellent coverage of related technologies, such as cascading style sheets (CSS) and relational databases.

In addition to discussing the crucial companion standards to the core XML language (DTDs, XSL, and XSLT), the book adds a nice perspective to the broad range of applications in which XML can play a role. One section, "Other Uses for XML," illustrates how XML can be used to serialize object models, creating stateless objects and utilizing the Resource Description Framework (RDF). Case studies on--among other things--how XML can be used to build discussion groups, and provide B2B data transfer, round out the text. This book is perfect for Web programmers who are turning their attention to XML for the first time. It imparts a solid understanding of the XML forest and XML trees. --Stephen W. Plain

Topics covered:

  • Well-formed XML
  • Cascading style sheets (CSS)
  • XSLT and Xpath
  • Document Object Model (DOM)
  • Simple API for XML (SAX)
  • XML/database integration schemas
  • Document Type Definitions (DTDs)
  • Namespaces
  • B2B data-transfer applications
  • Discussion group applications
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description
Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a rapidly maturing technology with powerful real-world applications, particularly for the management, display, and organization of data. Together with its many related technologies it is an essential technology for anyone using markup languages on the web or internally.

This book teaches you all you need to know about XML - what it is, how it works, what technologies surround it, and how it can best be used in a variety of situations, from simple data transfer to using XML in your web pages. It builds on the strengths of the first edition, and provides new material to reflect the changes in the XML landscape - notably SOAP and Web Services, and the publication of the XML Schemas Recommendation by the W3C.

This book covers:

XML syntax and writing well-formed XML
Using XML Namespaces
Transforming XML into other formats with XSLT
XPath and XPointer for locating specific XML data
XML Validation using DTDs and XML Schemas
Manipulating XML documents with the DOM and SAX 2.0
SOAP and Web Services
Displaying XML using CSS and XSL
Incorporating XML into tradition databases and n-tier architectures
XLink and XPointer for linking XML and non-XML resources

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Product Details

Look Inside This Book
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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Index | Back Cover

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81 of 84 people found the following review helpful:

A Great Beginning Book for the XML Novice, October 2, 2000
Reviewer:Randal Burgess (Chicago, IL) - See all my reviews
One thing to remember about this book before you buy: It is a "Beginning XML Book," NOT a "Beginner" book. You are going to need some knowledge of data management, file management, and web page development to understand the groundwork for XML development.

However, if you do have basic ASP, SQL, and HTML skills like I do, then this book is a great start if you want to add XML to your skillset.

As with all Wrox books published over the last two years, this book is well-structured, well-written, and well-indexed. It will teach you more than you need to know for XML basics, and you can use the book as a reference down the road.

I waited for this book to come out all summer, and it was well worth the price and time I put into it. Good job, Wrox!

188 of 194 people found the following review helpful:

Excellent straightforward way to learn XML from scratch, July 23, 2000
Reviewer:Maxime Bombardier (Montreal, Canada) - See all my reviews
Having read quite a few XML books from Wrox (5-6), I think that this book will be able to touch the biggest audience. It contains a very good approach to learn about XML well-formed documents, CSS for XML, XSL(T), DTD, and it also have some nice Case-Studies that goes along. Hey, you even have an introduction to ASP and another one for HTML; for those of you new to the Internet.

Most of the XML books (straight one, not XML for VB for example) contains the same TOC but this one has the best approach so far.

If you are new to XML, take this one.

If you know a bit of XML (and PROGRAMMED it), you can take the Professional XML which will go a little bit more in depth (not that much)

If you know what you are doing with XML and wants to learn more about XSLT, get the XSLT Programmer's Reference(great book) from Wrox.

If you want a very good Case-Study, take the Professional XML Design and Implementation (also good).

Then you are off with ASP XML, VB XML, or Java XML.

Happy XML hunting.

Customer Reviews
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:

Choppy and poorly written, January 8, 2007
Reviewer:R. M. Barge (Atlanta, GA USA) - See all my reviews
(I don't have time for a full review right now,so I will write a few comments and try to add to them.)

I knew very little about XML, so this sounded promising. As of Chapter 8, my general comments are:

1. The teaching structure is often murky. At many spots, the authors don't seem to grasp what a beginner needs to know first in order to go to the next step. This makes the material unnecessarily difficult and confusing.

2. Instead of one example page, for some reason the authors will sometimes create one XML page to illustrate a point, then create another completely different page to illustrate the next point, then go back to the first one for the next point, etc. It's inexplicable. The book would be much easier to follow, and probably easier to write, if they built one XML page from scratch and used/modified it throughout the book.

3. There are too many editorial screw-ups, such as "Figures" that are labeled incorrectly or don't exist -- that is, the text will say "see Figure 7 for the output" and Figure 7 will be the wrong one. I really have no patience with expensive books that don't bother to pay for one thorough copy-editing.

I am currently on Chapter 8 (XSLT), one of the worst-written ones. After a completely unnecessary discussion about "procedural" versus "declarative" programming (I imagine every reader is at least basically familiar with css, and if not, it is hardly difficult to understand "declarative" programming), the book just starts throwing XLST terms at you, with no foundation as to what they are doing or why. I finally gave up and pulled up the online W3C tutorial. This tutorial is free, covers most of the material, and is well-organized and easy to understand. Teaching in logical order isn't that hard.

There is a ton of good information in "Beginning XML", and the information on how to find, install, and use software such as Saxon and Schematron is invaluable. It is a shame that the authors didn't take the time to actually give the book to a few XML novices and then rewrite it as the introductory text it is supposed to be. The poorly organized writing at least doubles, and often triples, the time, energy, and painful confusion needed to learn the material.

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:

Fairly good, but not practical for non-Microsoft users, February 17, 2006
Reviewer:M. Edrich (Colorado) - See all my reviews
I am taking an XML class at the University using this book as the required course text. The authors do a good job at highlighting the key technologies, and the examples and tutorials significantly enhance the material. I enjoy the straight-forward manner with which Hunter and his friends explains what the example code in the book does. My only disappointment is that the book does not explain in enough detail how to use XML technologies on non-Microsoft systems. I believe a greater emphasis on Java and non-VB/ASP/.NET can extend the benefits this book otherwise offers.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:

Good introduction, February 15, 2006
Reviewer:MOORE PAUL PATRICK "ppmoore" (Antwerpen Belgium) - See all my reviews
As other reviewers have already pointed out; this is probably the best introduction to XML. XML is a wide field and is changing rapidly, and it is impossible to find a single introductory text book that covers all XML topics. So it is with this book: it covers all topics except XSL formatting objects, but that topic is covered in the more advanced "Professional XML" from the same publisher.

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful:

In need of some serious editing, October 14, 2005
Reviewer:M. Lengowski (USA) - See all my reviews
This book is for beginning programmers only and also in need of some serious editing.

I have to agree with other comments which describe this as a poorly written book. I have read other Wrox books and have enjoyed them. This book is torturously wordy. Annoying, unfunny jokes and quips abound. (as opposed to "fine ham") I found myself skipping/speed-reading entire paragraphs and pages just to get to the meat of the subject. Fortunately, once you do find the meat, the book seems very helplful.

If you have experience in programming and want a book that quickly brings you up to speed on XML and its associated technologies, this is NOT the book. Try O'Reilly's XML in a Nutshell instead.

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