WebRef Update: Featured Review: XML: A Primer
XML: A Primer continued
The book does a nice job of covering the many possible approaches to exchanging XML between businesses (albeit briefly), and to processing XML in general. The book does not address the Simple Access Object Protocol (SOAP), but then this is a primer, and the most effective treatments of SOAP seem to be in current Web and paper-based articles as well as the larger and more advanced books on XML.
If there are areas where the book falls short, the first would be the author's lack of any real treatment of XML Schema. It may be that the book was written before it became clear that the Web community would accept XML Schema, a standard originally proposed by Microsoft. St. Laurent spends a lot of time on Document Type Definitions (DTDs), which preceded XML Schema, and which are admittedly important since they are still in wide use. Both standards provide for creating rules that specify what data may be included in a given XML document. DTDs and XML Schema both make it possible for an application that is processing or using an XML document to determine the document is valid. Other potential omissions would be the maturing query languages using XML and the increased integration of XML in commercial products.
However, for the individual wishing to become familiar with XML, these shortcomings are slight compared with the overall value of this book as a starting point for that journey. I might mention that I've also worked with several other books on XML, and could also suggest "Teach Yourself XML in 21 Days," written by author Simon North and published by SAMS. I attribute the high quality of both books to the extensive, real-world experience that each author has had with XML and with preceding technologies. If you want a comprehensive, massive tome suitable for weighing down a stack of papers in a windstorm, then grab "Professional XML" from Wrox. I would recommend starting with one of the introductory books first. Finally, "XML in IE5" (also published by Wrox), is exactly what it says, a book on XML that focuses on IE5's support for the standard. It includes introductory material that any reader will likely find useful. Its treatment of XML Schema and XSL are especially good. Several periodicals have also recently popped up, such "XML Magazine" from Fawcette Technical Publications. Finally, visit Webreference.com, which has some great material on XML! There are several links this reviewer thinks you'll find especially valuable starting at webreference.com/authoring/languages/xml/. Thanks for reading!
Book: XML: A Primer
by Simon St. Laurent
Published by M&T Books (An imprint of IDG Books Worldwide, Inc.)
About the Author:
Gordon Rose (MCSE, MCDBA, MCSD, MCT, etc.) both develops Web sites and teaches Web development. He is currently the lead developer for a brand new site, www.activecert.com, which will provide Windows 2000 certification exam practice tests and many other resources to help aspiring and existing MCSEs make the move to Windows 2000. The site is currently seeking a small group of beta testers. Visit www.activecert.com or send an email to: Win2000BetaExam@GoRose.Com if you are interested in participating, or if you just want to learn more about new approaches to preparing for certification tests.
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Written by Gordon Rose and
Revised: May 9, 2000