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Effective XML: 50 Specific Ways to Improve Your XML
by Elliotte Rusty Harold

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List Price: $44.99
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Edition: Paperback

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Editorial Reviews
From Book News, Inc.
Written for developers familiar with the basics of XML, this guide offers 27 tips for using proper XML syntax and structures to improve the maintainability and extensibility of XML documents, then presents ten techniques and APIs for processing XML with languages such as C++, C#, Java, Python and Perl, and 13 techniques for working with systems built around XML documents.Copyright © 2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

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Praise for Effective XML

“This is an excellent collection of XML best practices: essential reading for any developer using XML. This book will help you avoid common pitfalls and ensure your XML applications remain practical and interoperable for as long as possible.”

     —Edd Dumbill, Managing Editor, XML.com and Program Chair, XML Europe

“A collection of useful advice about XML and related technologies. Well worth reading both before, during, and after XML application development.”

     —Sean McGrath, CTO, Propylon

“A book on many best practices for XML that we have been eagerly waiting for.”

     —Akmal B. Chaudhri, Editor, IBM developerWorks

“The fifty easy-to-read items cover many aspects of XML, ranging from how to use markup effectively to what schema language is best for what task. Sometimes controversial, but always relevant, Elliotte Rusty Harold’s book provides best practices for working with XML that every user and implementer of XML should be aware of.”

     —Michael Rys, Ph.D., Program Manager, SQL Server XML Technologies, Microsoft Corporation

Effective XML is an excellent book with perfect timing. Finally, an XML book everyone needs to read! Effective XML is a fount of XML best practices and solid advice. Whether you read Effective XML cover to cover or randomly one section at a time, its clear writing and insightful recommendations enlighten, entertain, educate, and ultimately improve the effectiveness of even the most expert XML developer. I’ll tell you what I tell all my coworkers and customers: You need this book.”

     —Michael Brundage, Technical Lead, XML Query Processing, Microsoft WebData XML Team

“This book provides great insight for all developers who write XML software, regardless of whether the software is a trivial application-specific XML processor or a fullblown W3C XML Schema Language validator. Mr. Harold covers everything from a very important high-level terminology discussion to details about parsed XML nodes. The well-researched comparisons of currently available XML-related software products, as well as the key criteria for selecting between XML technologies, exemplify the thoroughness of this book.”

     —Cliff Binstock, Author, The XML Schema Complete Reference

If you want to become a more effective XML developer, you need this book. You will learn which tools to use when in order to write legible, extensible, maintainable and robust XML code.

Page 36: How do you write DTDs that are independent of namespace prefixes?
Page 82: What do parsers reliably report and what don't they?
Page 130: Which schema language is the right one for your job?
Page 178: Which API should you choose for maximum speed and minimum size?
Page 257: What can you do to ensure fast, reliable access to DTDs and schemas without making your document less portable?
Page 283: Is XML too verbose for your application?

Elliotte Rusty Harold provides you with 50 practical rules of thumb based on real-world examples and best practices. His engaging writing style is easy to understand and illustrates how you can save development time while improving your XML code. Learn to write XML that is easy to edit, simple to process, and is fully interoperable with other applications and code. Understand how to design and document XML vocabularies so they are both descriptive and extensible. After reading this book, you'll be ready to choose the best tools and APIs for both large-scale and small-scale processing jobs. Elliotte provides you with essential information on building services such as verification, compression, authentication, caching, and content management.

If you want to design, deploy, or build better systems that utilize XML—then buy this book and get going!

See all Editorial Reviews

Product Details
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1st edition (September 12, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 0321150406
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.0 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds. (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: based on 10 reviews.
  • Amazon.com Sales Rank: #114,510 in Books
  • (Publishers and authors: improve your sales)

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

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      9 of 16 people found the following review helpful:

      The XML book you should own, April 2, 2004
      Reviewer: Thomas Paul (Plainview, NY USA) - See all my reviews
      (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   (REAL NAME)  
      Imagine you are given the opportunity to ask one of the leading experts on XML 50 questions. And further imagine that this expert will answer those questions clearly and completely. You can stop imagining because Elliotte Rusty Harold has done exactly that in this book. Whether you are a relative newbie or an experienced XML developer, you will find useful information in this book. Should I use DOM or SAX? What's the right way to encode binary data? When should I use processing instructions? Should I use XML 1.1? Do I really need to parse my documents? This is just a random sample of the questions that Harold answers in this book. Every page contains valuable information. Harold is unusual in that even though he is an expert he still remembers what it is like to not know something. His explanations don't leave any blanks that you need to fill in. There are no jumps from point A to point Z without taking you through the points in between.

      So who should buy this book? Anyone who has some knowledge of XML who is interested in working with XML the right way. Whether you are developing applications to process or create an XML document or whether you are simply designing an XML document you need to read this book. Once you understand the basics of XML, this book will take you to the next step of being able to work with XML effectively.

      Was this review helpful to you?  YesNo (Report this)

      5 of 7 people found the following review helpful:

      A must have for the serious XML practitioner, November 29, 2003
      Reviewer: Foti Massimo (Savosa Switzerland) - See all my reviews
      (REAL NAME)  
      There are plenty of generic XML books out there, plus a bunch of titles that focus on specific XML applications or XML related topics (SOAP, XSLT, XML Schema etc); what Mr Harold delivered this time is something different, that really stands out from everything else available at the time of this writing. This book is about best practices, patterns and anti-patterns, and about how to use XML correctly and efficiently. As with other titles from the same author, this book is a pleasure to read, clean, informative and well structured. In my opinion a must have for the serious XML practitioner. Be advised this is not a book for beginners, the author takes for granted you already mastered the fundamentals of XML and many related technologies like DTD, Schema or Namespace. In order to really get the best out of it you better have some experience using XML under your belt.

      Was this review helpful to you?  YesNo (Report this)

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      0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:

      Great gap between book knowledge and effective use..., December 5, 2004
      Reviewer: Thomas Duff (Portland, OR United States) - See all my reviews
      (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   (REAL NAME)  
      The flexibility of XML can often mean that there's a gap between using XML and using XML effectively. Elliotte Rusty Harold's book Effective XML - 50 Specific Ways to Improve Your XML (Addison Wesley) is an excellent way to move towards the latter condition.

      Chapter List: Syntax; Structure; Semantics; Implementation; Recommended Reading; Index

      There are obviously a large number of books that will teach you the semantics of writing and using XML. But just because you can create an XML file doesn't mean that you've done it well or effectively. Harold's book provides a bridge to being able to create XML files that will be usable in nearly all situations. The book starts out in the introduction with explanations of terms that are often confused (element vs. tag, text vs. character data vs. markup, etc.). Then there are four parts of the book that include a total of 50 tips that will improve the quality of your XML usage. Some tips are pretty basic, like "Include an XML Declaration". Others are more complex like "Verify Documents with XML Digital Signatures". But every one is practical and useful for making sure that your XML is widely useable by all potential applications.

      Excellent bridge book to read after you've learned the basics of XML. This is a book that, when taken to heart and used, will cause your coworkers to thank you.

      Was this review helpful to you?  YesNo (Report this)

      7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:

      The best XML book I've read, October 22, 2004
      Reviewer: Norman Richards "..." (Austin, TX) - See all my reviews
      (REAL NAME)  
      Effective XML is a collection of about 50 tips for working with XML. Although XML seems is simple and easy to use, it's also easy to get wrong. I've often scratched your head and wondered why things like XML Schema, for example, just doesn't feel right. But it wasn't until I read Effective XML that I understood what was really awkward with it.

      Because the book is so diverse (an amazing feat considering the small page count), it is hard to single out any specific part as being a reason to read the book. The book doesn't just talk about schemas, the infoset, etc..., it digs down and really explains what is good and bad about the technologies and what the best ways to apply them are. All I can say is that I use XML day in and day out and have learned everything I know by trial an error. I've made many mistakes along the way. I've tried my best to learn from them, but Effective XML was the book that made everything click for me. The best part is that the book went well beyond just helping me see my errors. I've already applied some of the ideas to new work I've done recently and have been able to head off some of the problems I would have encountered.

      Effective XML is by far the best XML book I've ever read, and quite possibly the best tech book I've read all year. I might even have to add it to my favorite tech books list. If you work with XML to any significant degree, I can't recommend this book highly enough.

      Was this review helpful to you?  YesNo (Report this)

      11 of 15 people found the following review helpful:

      Five Star PLUS, low fat book for the mature developer, March 1, 2004
      Reviewer: ws__ (Hamburg, Germany) - See all my reviews
      This book was extremely pleasant to read. The format of the book (essentially 50 essays related to XML) gave the author the possibility just to talk about the topics he was really interested in, to talk about. There is no stuff in the book, which he also had to say just for the sake of being complete.

      The claim for this book is, that you already have to know quite a bit, before reading it. Well you have to know something, but knowledge is really not the point here. It is more something like software maturity. So if you are fond of maturity: this is your book.

      Thanks to the author for that great present to us.

      Was this review helpful to you?  YesNo (Report this)

      8 of 12 people found the following review helpful:

      Make room on your bookshelf, January 21, 2004
      Reviewer: C. M. Lowry (Columbia JUG, Columbia, SC USA) - See all my reviews
      This book is targeted towards developers with a good knowledge of XML. While the book is very instructional, it is not a tutorial. Rather, it is a collection of tips for building better XML applications. The subtitle is an apt description, "50 Specific Ways to Improve Your XML".

      The book is divided into four topics with the 50 tips spread among them. Part 1 is based on Syntax, Part 2 is about Structure, Part 3 reflects Semantics, and Part 4 focuses on implementation. Each item (or tip) has a brief explanation followed by a more detailed explanation and examples of the problems and remedies. The book can be read in any order with one exception. The author includes a very nice bit in the Introduction. While in many books this is the part that most people skip or read later; do not succumb to that temptation. The author reviews many of the XML terms that are points of confusion in order to acclimate the reader into the way they will be used in the book.

      One of the most refreshing parts of the book is way that the author is very upfront about delivering his opinion. For example, Item 3 "Stay with XML 1.0" states, "Everything that you need to know about XML 1.1 can be summed up in two rules.
      1.Don't use it.
      2.(For experts only) If you speak Mongolian, Yi, ... you can set the version attribute of the XML declaration to 1.1. Otherwise, refer to rule 1."
      Afterwards, he delivers a lengthy and well-expressed defense of this position.

      This book definitely deserves consideration for some shelf space if you work with XML, perhaps along side the "XML Bible" and "Processing XML with Java".

      Was this review helpful to you?  YesNo (Report this)

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