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Perl and XML 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0596002053
ISBN-10: 059600205X
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jason McIntosh lives and works in and around Boston. He has co-authored two O'Reilly books, Mac OS X in a Nutshell and Perl & XML, and writes occasional columns and weblog entries for the O'Reilly Network. His homepage is at


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 218 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (May 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 059600205X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596002053
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,189,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 55 people found the following review helpful By M. Riffle on June 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
I am a professional developer, working mostly with Perl. I work in the field of biology and bioinformatics, but have spent the last 8 years working as a web and database Internet developer. And, I own practically every O'Reilly Perl book ever published (not that I necessarily think they're all worth buying). So, now that you know where I'm coming from...
If you are preparing to do a serious amount of XML development, and you're in the process of determining a) which Perl XML modules on CPAN you want to use, and b) how to use them; and, you don't have a whole lot of time to spend tracking down the sometimes-hard-to-find documentation on these modules; then buying this book is a no-brainer. It covers all the major XML modules, how to use then and really helps you figure out when to use the different modules.
Even if you're not new to XML and Perl, this book would serve as an excellent refresher course on what XML tools are available out there for you... Maybe you haven't looked at your code in awhile, or want to update it to use a newer module from CPAN? Or, maybe you're looking for a better way to do it? Then, this book would definitely help you out.
While a fan of O'Reilly books in general, I'll be the first to admit some of them are more useful than others. I have to give this book a very solid rating, as it's actually useful, comprehensive and very well presented. I find myself cracking it open all the time, especially as my utilization of XML has grown more complicated. It has definitely earned its place in my Aqua Perl book collection.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. Paulson on November 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
I liked the way this book was structured - it was a quick read over a thanksgiving family visit, and it gave a good overview of what XML is and what XML isn't, and what tools are available already in Perl to use it. I particularly liked the middle of the book, and how it dealt with trees and event streams. First there was in short intro chapter on why you'd want to parse XML as an event stream, and some simple modules that give back event streams. Then the next chapter would be a longer one on SAX - the definitive way to do event streams. Same thing with trees and DOM. It ends with some examples of real-life XML processing, such as consuming and producing RSS feeds. The book also has the best description of Unicode I've ever read, and did it with just a few pages.

What ticked me off about this book were the egregious errors in the sampe code. The very first piece of code they show in chapter 3 is a 100-line XML parser that doesn't need any support modules. The problem is that it doesn't recognize any XML because the regular expressions are wrong, which was pretty confusing for me (I'm relatively new to Perl, so I figured they were just "another way of doing it" that I didn't understand). I downloaded the examples frm the O'Reily website, and they're wrong there too - so it's not just a printing error. Worse, the example XML file I tried to test the parser on was also from the tarfile I downloaded - but it was invalid XML! (example 3.4). So I was trying to learn XML with a sample parser that didn't work, on invalid XML! This is not the quality I am expecting from O'Reilly!

(In fairness, both of these errors were in the online errata, but I'm not sure if they were corrected in the 7/04 reprint)

There are other errors in the code too - so be sure and check back with the errata page if you're going to seriously use the code. If they'd run their sample code before printing, I'd probably give this book a better rating.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Philip R. Heath TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
I have wanted to learn about XML, but I found the pure XML books dry and too theoretical. However, putting XML in the context of something familiar, i.e. Perl, made it much more accessible. This book gives a nice overview of XML parsing using event based and tree based parsers that are available as Perl modules. The book presents SAX and DOM standards compliant modules as well as modules with more Perlish interfaces, e.g. XML::Grove and XML::Twig. It discusses the pros and cons of event vs. tree parsing of XML as well as a few advanced technologies such as database integration and SOAP. The only knock I have on the book is that the examples are a bit contrived and do not show how to solve meaningful problems.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Wait on December 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
XML has begun to appear everywhere. XML has long served in hidden roles on servers and in configuration files. Microsoft Word 2003 for Windows now supports reading and writing XML to in it's wordprocessingML format. Unlike MS Word's horrible "Save As Web Page" feature, wordprocessingML, or wordML for short, is a clean usable format. The adoption of XML in a user space as common as MS Word in an accessible format means that developers have a rich opportunity in XML.

The book Perl and XML focuses on the where Perl and XML meet. In asking the questions "Why Perl?", the authors Erik Ray and Jason McIntosh point to Perl's ability to handle text, strings, and regular expressions. The authors also point out in a clear and concise manner the strengths of XML as a means for structuring data.

The book focuses on working with XML using Perl. Tutorials of the basics of either language are best found in another book. The author of the book recommends Learning Perl for those people starting out in Perl. The book does not assume much knowledge of XML, so it's really an XML book for Perl programmers. If you'd like a more in depth discussion of XML, you might check out Erik Ray's Learning XML.

Surveying many conventional XML tools and applications, the book addresses big picture items such as tree processing and streams as well as specific items such as RSS and SOAP. Approaching XML from both a practical point of view and strategic point of view, the author provides detailed examples and observes which strategies work well for handling XML in Perl.

Originally, I picked up Perl and XML to address a couple of small projects where I had to deal with XML.
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