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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good transition book from HTML, CSS --> XML
SHORT: I highly recommend this book if you know HTML and have some exposure to CSS; it's a good intro book to XML, which is what it's intended to be. The end result is that you'll know enough to get started with more technical books, and where to go for available web resources.
LONGER: The reasons that other people have given for not liking this book are some of the...
Published on June 12, 2001 by Tuesday Frase

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122 of 129 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Suggested New Title: Anatomy of XML
By page 177 I realized that I was never going to touch a keyboard while reading this book. I can't speak for everyone, but when I pick up a book expecting to learn the topic, I need theory, reference, examples and structured "assignments". This title offers the first three, but I never get to apply what I am learning hands-on in a graduated fashion. When I am finished,...
Published on March 1, 2003 by Jase T. Wolfe


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122 of 129 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Suggested New Title: Anatomy of XML, March 1, 2003
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This review is from: Learning XML (Paperback)
By page 177 I realized that I was never going to touch a keyboard while reading this book. I can't speak for everyone, but when I pick up a book expecting to learn the topic, I need theory, reference, examples and structured "assignments". This title offers the first three, but I never get to apply what I am learning hands-on in a graduated fashion. When I am finished, I have little more than the ability to recognize the components of XML. Just because you can recognize all the foods in a grocery store, and know the origins of all the spices on your spice rack, doesn't mean you can cook; the same principal applies here. I am fully aware that XML is comprised of many different elements, and many of the XML development environments are very expensive, but many are free and could have been used to teach the concept clearer.
The title also has many errors, so the errata list on the publisher's web site is important. The book does not include any of the source code, so if you want that, you have to download it. Even then, it is not complete and file titles in the book do not always match the provided code file names.
If you are looking for a hands-on book to learn XML, this isn't the title. If you know XML and are looking for a reference, again - not for you. However, if you are interested in it from more of an administrative overview position, then the title is worth the read. It can provide many answers and give a good base of information without the need to actually write any XML on your own.
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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good transition book from HTML, CSS --> XML, June 12, 2001
By 
This review is from: Learning XML (Paperback)
SHORT: I highly recommend this book if you know HTML and have some exposure to CSS; it's a good intro book to XML, which is what it's intended to be. The end result is that you'll know enough to get started with more technical books, and where to go for available web resources.
LONGER: The reasons that other people have given for not liking this book are some of the same reasons that I find it useful. I'm pretty well-versed in HTML and have some basic understanding of JavaScript and Cascading Style Sheets. This book goes into detail about both and gives comparisons and evolutions that involve XML. I'm about halfway through it at the moment, and it's giving me a clear, not-to-technical view of XML. The other books I have go straight into the code, telling me HOW but not really explaining the WHY of everything. That's what makes this book great to me. The first half deals with explanation and presentation, while the last half is more code-heavy. The two other books I have strive to be highly technical, but proved to be a bit overwhelming for me as a complete newbie to the subject of XML.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for programmers using XML, August 22, 2001
By 
Jane Avriette (Arlington, Virginia USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Learning XML (Paperback)
I am a C, Unix Shell, and Perl programmer. This means that I have a lot of interaction with XML.
I'm not really interested in sitting down and learning XML because I wouldnt actually go and write it myself. There are plenty of perl modules (XML::Parser, XML::Twig, and so on) that will do that for me. However, I wanted to have some understanding of what XML actually was, and how to read it if I were presented in it.
This book started very slow and very easily, and moved into some more advanced (if a little more dry) subject matter. The author uses witty, enjoyable examples, and is very clear at all times about what is being explained.
I would recommend this to most programmers who want to just "know what XML is all about," as it isnt particularly technical (if you are just skimming), and its technical enough for people to get into if need be. It also covers most topics very thoroughly.
Another gem from OReilly.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Introduction for XML Authors, October 1, 2001
By 
Eric Dubuis (Tinton Falls, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Learning XML (Paperback)
The book "Learning XML" by Eric T. Ray is a basic introduction to XML. It covers the markup elements, links, presentation, data type definition, transformations and programming for XML.

The book is truly for the novice. The very basic concepts are introduced and illustrated in great detail. The text is written quite well, and the illustrations do help to understand the presented concepts and examples.

The first chapters on the core concepts, the markup elements, links and presentation in XML describe all syntax elements using a graphical syntax illustration. The components of syntax elements are clearly labeled and referred to in the text. The application of all elements is further illustrated with simple examples that concentrate on the essence of the different markup elements.

The chapter on DTDs is equally well written and DTD concepts and syntax elements are introduced in the same careful way as the markup elements in the first chapters. I would have expected more than 4 pages on XML schema. Yes, it's still a draft, but the basic behavior and structure are pretty well defined by now, and parsers accepting XML schema are available.

The text has a couple of chapters and sections that disappointed me. The chapter on transformations isn't structured as well as the rest of the book and contains a 20 page long, undocumented and uncommented example of an XSLT transformation program. This example has not been written by the author, and that might be reason it is not explained in detail, but at least a few comments would have been nice.

The last chapter on programming for XML is the most disappointing one. The elements of an XML processor are only introduced very briefly. The chapter does contain a Perl example of a XML syntax checker but I don't think that developing such low level functionality is the most important aspect of programming for XML. A more detailed coverage of the APIs SAX and DOM would probably have been more important.

Overall, this is a good introduction for XML authors. The basic concepts are presented out nicely and the illustrations are very helpful. The book is not a great reference if you plan to learn how to write programs for XML.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well organized and thorough intro plagued with errors, June 9, 2002
This review is from: Learning XML (Paperback)
This is a very good introduction to XML. The author provides good background explanations for the topics that need it and uses many good analogies and examples. Unfortunately there are many errors. Some of them are serious and obscure enough to confuse the intended audience. Do your self a favor - buy this book then visit the errata page listed in the preface. Make sure to read both the confirmed and unconfirmed pages. The editors need to be taken outside and pelted with donuts.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice enough book, but..., May 22, 2001
By 
This review is from: Learning XML (Paperback)
As with most O'Reilly books, the production/editing of this book is excellent. It is a great introduction to the technologies around XML, but doesn't really give you enough to get started with XML.
For example, there is a great introduction to current XML parsers out there for XML, but you never really find out how to use them (granted, this may be the topic of a more advanced book...). What exactly do I do with an XML file? I'm not sure this question is really answered.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm glad I bought this book, and I know this book will be a good reference source in the future. I'm just not sure this is the first place to stop in learning XML.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Subpar, September 18, 2002
By 
This review is from: Learning XML (Paperback)
I bought this book based on uniformly good experience with the publisher, but I will have to revise my standards in the future. I still find it hard to believe that O'Reilly would put out such a half-baked book.
The book has three major problems, not all the author's fault.
First, it attempts to cover a large number of topics at an overview level. Unfortunately, it doesn't give quite enough information about anything to be usable without extra information. It is difficult to imagine doing anything in XML based on the material in this book. For example, it devotes quite a few pages to XPath, but it doesn't describe a usable subset of XPath in a complete enough manner to start using XPath in your own documents.
Second, it is missing essential current topics. This is not the author's fault as XML is rapidly evolving, but it is difficult to recommend an introduction to XML that virtually ignores schemas while spending a tremendous number of pages on DTDs.
Finally, and most importantly, the book is badly written. Terms are used before they are defined. Some XML-specific technical terms are used without being defined at all. This is particularly bad in the discussion of XPath, where quite a bit of XPath terminology is used as if the reader knew what it meant without ever being defined. Ditto with XSLT. I have rarely seen a less useful set of examples. The examples consist mainly of repetitive XML files taken from the net with little annotation. Although the examples are long, they typically repeat similar code again and again without illustrating many new ideas.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The book is exactly right for an introduction., September 5, 2006
This review is from: Learning XML, Second Edition (Paperback)
I am amplifying a prior review (Daniel McKinnon's) in order to balance a misperception as to the intent and execution of the book.

This is not XSLT or XPath or "DOM processing in Firefox" or "node traversals with Java", it's an introduction to XML. If you need a solid foundation upon which to base further study, I wholly recommend the book. Unlike other reviewers, I am not in search of the One Canonical Tome on a subject, because I know it doesn't exist in any genre. My needs for learning XML were basic and required a grasp of fundamentals, which you will achieve with this work.

It also has numerous points of interest that a reader can use to further a study of specific issues, such as processing XML using a scripting language, or weighing a schema for implementation, and so forth. As a result, the reader is well-armed to continue learning on the specifics that are of personal interest.

Ir requires a third edition to correct errors and update content, but that doesn't diminish the value of the book for anyone who wants to comprehend what XML is and is not, and what the major issues and challenges are.

-Fred
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars get this along with another book., November 13, 2002
By 
levl289 (Long Beach, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Learning XML (Paperback)
This book straddles the fine line between "for developers", and "for executives" - it does the Jack of All Trades things well, it Masters none however.
If you're a developer: get this book, read it, and then after figuring out what XML-based tools you need, get another book that goes into more detail - you're not gonna find that in this book.
If you're an executive: get this book, and read the introductions to each chapter - the code is relatively easy to understand, but certainly unnecessary if you're looking for a definition what what things are in the *ML world
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice way to kickstart learning XML, April 6, 2001
By 
Dean Wette (University City, MO USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Learning XML (Paperback)
I needed a quick, well-structured intro to XML for a consulting assignment. This book serves that purpose well. It covers many of the important and relevant XML technologies, and provides enough depth to get started in each. The sections on XPath and XSLT are particularly helpful. The book looses a review star, however, for its poor XML Programming section. DOM is barely mentioned, and SAX is demonstrated using Perl. Perl is great for some things, but I think it's a poor choice here. Java is far more mainstream and easier to read for XML programming, and should have been used instead. Brett Mclaughlin's book, Java and XML, provides a much better choice for introductions to SAX and DOM.
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Learning XML, Second Edition
Learning XML, Second Edition by Erik T. Ray (Paperback - October 2, 2003)
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