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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4th edition is vastly updated - May 2007
Any review prior to May 2007 has to refer to one of the 3 older editions. The 4th edition adds a new chapter on Ajax, simplifies some of the examples to focus the learning more on the concept and less on the example data itself, and is rearranged for some better flow. There were also fewer working authors on this edition for better cohesion from chapter to chapter.
Published on September 20, 2004 by J. Minatel

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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Choppy and poorly written
(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...
Published on January 8, 2007 by R. M. Barge


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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Choppy and poorly written, January 8, 2007
By 
R. M. Barge (Atlanta, GA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beginning XML (Programmer to Programmer) (Paperback)
(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.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4th edition is vastly updated - May 2007, September 20, 2004
This review is from: Beginning XML (Programmer to Programmer) (Paperback)
Any review prior to May 2007 has to refer to one of the 3 older editions. The 4th edition adds a new chapter on Ajax, simplifies some of the examples to focus the learning more on the concept and less on the example data itself, and is rearranged for some better flow. There were also fewer working authors on this edition for better cohesion from chapter to chapter.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fairly good, but not practical for non-Microsoft users, February 16, 2006
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This review is from: Beginning XML (Programmer to Programmer) (Paperback)
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.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In need of some serious editing, October 14, 2005
This review is from: Beginning XML (Programmer to Programmer) (Paperback)
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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on XML and related subjects, March 1, 2005
This review is from: Beginning XML (Programmer to Programmer) (Paperback)
Looking at all of Wrox books that are currently on sale, this is the most well-written and most useful one. And among the XML books out there, this is one of the top three. Better than O'Reiley's XML In A Nutshell 3rd Edition at teaching the beginners how to get started on XML, and explains the concept clearly. Covers DTD and Schema along with other XML related applications. Usually books written by multiple authors are a pain in the neck to read, the difference in writing style would simply confuse you. But not this one. If they tell me that all chapters are written by one single author, I'd belive them.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful for programmers who need to understand XML, September 20, 2005
By 
Charles Smith (Lost In Space, Texas) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beginning XML (Programmer to Programmer) (Paperback)
A very helpful combination of "workbook" and technical reference written for programmers who are object-oriented, dynamically HTML'd and JavaScripted, but not so XML-ly.

What I learned at home, I immediately applied at work. This book lays out XML, chapter by chapter, with each author serving up a specialty layer of information which "cognates" the XML jig-saw into a more complete picture.

Being "hands-on" with a DOS Editor and an Internet Explorer icon will help. I found the "Try It Out" examples and the "How It Works" explanations to be meaningful and practical exercises. Especially in the chapters covering well-formed XML, XPath, XSL and the Document Object Model (DOM).

I can also now appreciate how XSL stylesheet transformations were explained only after the authors first described Namespaces and the XPath language, both of which are critical (as I found out) to understanding and using XSL stylesheets to "transform" your well-formed XML document into an IE web page or an Excel spreadsheet.

I haven't had the opportunity to use the Web Services chapters yet, but now I know more about "Web Services" and how XML plays a role.

I recommend this book to techy, programmer types who want and need to expand their skill sets. But, keep in mind, this is a math book, not a novel. You have to work the exercises, then analyze them before you can put them to use.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction, February 15, 2006
This review is from: Beginning XML (Programmer to Programmer) (Paperback)
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Resource For Quick Learning of XML, February 14, 2009
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This review is from: Beginning XML (Programmer to Programmer) (Paperback)
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!
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Beginning XML (Programmer to Programmer)
Beginning XML (Programmer to Programmer) by Danny Ayers (Paperback - September 24, 2004)
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