Beginning XML Programming

Beginning XML Programming
Dave Gibbons, David Hunter, Nikola Ozu, Jon Pinnock, Kurt Cagle
01 Jun 2000
Purchase online

A beginners guide to XML

Page 2 of 2
  1. Editorial Reviews
  2. Customer Reviews

Customer Reviews

Ann in CT said
I am a 20 year IT professional and currently am back in school to modernize my skills as a It Web Development .NET student 15 credits from graduation holding a 3.97 GPA. This is the most boring book I have even opened in my life. It is absolutely impossible to read without instantly falling asleep.

The examples are not for human reading, and I can barely stay awake and concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time while reading this. I am forced to read it with a straight edge so I dont lose my place and have to read each paragraph over again with little if no understanding.

I am taking 5 classes every 8 weeks and read almost 5000 pages every 8 weeks - a giant textbook just like this one 5 times over. They keep coming one after the other and I have never had material for a class that I cannot learn from.

A classmate called me tonight and asked if I have been able to understand a single thing in the book. He is a programmer also with a background in development holding a 3.94 GPA. He is absolutely dumbfounded that he cannot understand this.

If you are not forced to try to read this book, buy anything else on the market that is available instead. I have no other recommendations since I must use this text. I am writing discussion board postings based on information that I am finding on the internet and have learned nothing from this text up to chapter 15 which ends on page 644.

The authors are most likely very good progammers but they should stick with their base skill set and stay away from the word processor. They are unable, page after page, and chapter after chapter unable to relay information to at least two high energy IT professionals learning new material.

I will end up with a good grade in this class, but none of the knowledge has come as a result of reading this text. It is impossible to read it and stay awake and I have never in my life had this experience - even withthe few classes that I dont enjoy - I am able to read and learn... until this text was mailed to me from my school.

XML is a very dry subject and this text makes it unbearable.

Robert said
I've never read a tech book that contained so much useless prose. The authors will often spend pages and pages explaining the simplest concepts, thus making things seem more complicated than need be. Yet they will often gloss over complicated subjects in a few sentences. And it's probably one of the worst organized manuals ever. The authors take the approach, "lets show them how this new concept looks when completely finished, we'll summarize the key concepts (often inserting critical info only found on that page), and then we'll go in-depth later in the chapter (of course omitting the critical info mentioned earlier)." OMG this is frustrating. This makes for a structure where topic A may have some coverage on page 50 -- then more topics -- critical info on topic A -- more topics -- stuff we forgot to include earlier on topic A... you get the picture. I realize a completely linear approach may be impossible, but come on! This book's only redeeming feature is the fact it touches on so many XML concepts.

Robert Hall said
Even though this is the previous edition, I found it to be a thoroughly detailed, yet simple introduction to XML. I like a book that does not take it for granted that you already know something. I also like a book that explains why what it is about is important, and why I would need or want to learn it. I know basic XML, but I always learn something I didn't know. Even though the book is over 1000 pages, I got through it in two weeks, and Since I bought on Amazon I purchase the book for $3.21- Can't be beat. My comapny website will be easier to code and maintain since I read this book and made use of the basic principles in XML. I highly recommend this book, or the 4th edition!

Tom Iancu said
Hello everybody.
Having more than 14 yrs experience in all kind of IT techies, I always had a problem when it came to XML: too big of a confusing terminology and concepts that were difficult to understand. Aside from being a markup language used for structuring data I did not know too much. I plunged into all sort of documentation available on the web, browsed a book or two either form my friends' bookshelves or in a bookshop, but stil questions like "what is the difference between a DTD and a schema" or "should I use URL or URN for a namespace and, in the end, what is a namespace" left unanswered.
Two days ago I had the opportunity to borrow this book from a friend of mine, old-time programmer and IT PM, and I couldn't left it out of my hands.
So, first advice, start with this book if you want to understand basics of XML.
It starts from the scratch, but assuming you have some knowledge about markup, web technologies and, especially, some more insight into HTML and text tagging, but, otherwise, the content is so well written and refined that you will not have any problem in understanding the concepts.
You need a good XML editor. I downloaded XMLSpy trial version from Alltova but I think any good XML editor will do. You will need it to write down and test the collection of examples that the book is filled with.

After you got your XML editor, you may start reading the book, "pencil in hand" to try all the examples provided. By the way, I reached page 183 (out of 1000+) and no typos encountered yet. The code within the examples is very well written, no mistakes up to now.

Since I read only a quarter of the information, I will stick to the chapters I went through wo far.

Introduction and Chapter 1: You will be introduced in the universe of files and information contained in files and a brief - but solid - history of markup is presented, altogether with the rationale behind SGML and other technologies. Then you will be smoothly transported to the world of XML and important questions like "what is XML?", "what does XML offer?", "what is a hierarchy and what is useful for?" etc., will be answered. Then you will be presented the origins of XML standards and, very important, the uses of XML, situations when it is not indicated, advantages and disadvantages. The information is very clear, efficiently structured, no redundancy in phrases and exact, refined wording is used throughout the paragraphs. Do not skip this introductions because here are presented very important concepts that will help you understand future information. The introduction is where most readers should begin. The first three chapters introduce some of the goals of XML as well as the specific rules for constructing XML. Once you have read this part you should be able to read and create your own XML documents. In chapter 1, the authors cover some basic concepts, introducing the fact that XML is a markup language (a bit like HTML) whereby you can define your own elements, tags, and attributes (known as a vocabulary). You'll see that tags have no presentation meaning--they're just a way to describe the structure of the data.

Chapter 2 - Well Formed XML - gives you a very solid understanding of rules of writing XML code, including attributes, elements, comments, XML declarations, illegal characters, etc. In addition to explaining what well-formed XML is, it offers a look at the rules that exist (the XML 1.0
and 1.1 Recommendations) for naming and structuring elements--you need to comply with these rules in order to produce well-formed XML.

Chapter 3 - This chapter was invaluable for me because I have - FINALLY! - understood what a namespace is in XML. Because XML tags can be made up, one needs to avoid name conflicts when sharing documents. Namespaces
provide a way to uniquely identify a group of tags, using a URI. This chapter explains how to use namespaces. Excellent info !

Chapter 4 - Another invaluable chapter, for me, about Document Type Definitions (DTDs). With this chapter, you will be introduced to part II of the book, called "validation". This Part of the book introduces you to DTDs, XML Schemas, and RELAX NG: three languages that define custom XML vocabularies. It will show you how to utilize these definitions to validate your XML documents. Thus, you will understand immediately that DTDs, schemas and compact syntaxes are used for XML validation. In addition to the well-formedness rules you learn in Part I, you will most likely want to learn how to create and use different XML vocabularies. In chapter 4, you will learn how you can specify how an XML document should be structured, and even provide default values, using Document Type Definitions (DTDs). If XML conforms to the associated DTD, it is known as valid XML. This chapter covers the basics of using DTDs.

Chapter 5 - XML Schemas - A very interesting discussion about differences between DTDs and Schemas used for XML validation. This is crucial for you to grasp understanding of coding context when DTDs are more indicated than Schemas and vice-versa. XML Schemas, like DTDs, enable you to define how a document should be structured. In addition to
defining document structure, they enable you to specify the individual datatypes of attribute values and element content (see chapter 2 for these concepts). The most important difference: they are a more powerful alternative to DTDs.

So this is where I reached by now.
However, based on the quality of information I encountered so far, I doubt I will experience any unpleasant surprises regarding the quality of the content in the remainder of the book. However, I would strongly recommend this book for beginners into XML or for those that have difficulties in understanding the concepts related to XML. And don't forget to get and install a good XML editor.

Five stars !


The Mad Hatter said
This book is very concise and it tells a lot about the subject including other topics such as XSLT, RSS, and many other web technologies related to XML. Would highly suggest buying.

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