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Pro PHP XML and Web Services Hardcover – September 6, 2007
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About the Author
Robert Richards, an independent contractor, has worked in various fields including medical information, telecommunications, media and e-learning. Having been exposed to XML since its inception and used it for various projects during his career, his most extensive work with the technology was within the e-learning space. He helped created a proprietary XML based application server which used XML for data publishing, defining application business logic as well as data querying. He was also the lead engineer for the company?'s involvement in SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model), used for Web-based learning, established by the U.S. Department of Defense through its Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) initiative. After becoming the latest casualty of the dot-com implosion in 2001, Rob had his first taste of PHP and began contributing code to the domxml extension in 2002. Since then, he has become one of the authors of the DOM extension for PHP 5, contributes to the other XML based extensions and has authored the xmlReader, for PHP 5, and xmlwriter, for PHP 4.3+, extensions. Also on occasion, he contributes bug fixes to the libxml2 project found during the development of these extensions.
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Along the way Richards introduces the reader to utility classes like SimpleXML, SAX (Simple API for XML), XMLReader. He also touches on PEAR (PHP Extension and Application Repository) utility classes and topics like security, RSS (Really Simple Syndication) and UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration). The author's examples are reasonably concise and readable; making the necessary points without getting carried away.
The bottom line is that this is a highly effective reference (that means fairly comprehensive, but dry reading; I read cover to cover, but it was relatively tedious) on XML and its varied uses in association with PHP. This is not a book for the newcomer to programming, nor is it a cookbook for examples for the casual programmer/web developer, although the author does provide PEAR examples for connecting with major web services like Amazon, Google and Yahoo (among others). My suggestion for readers is to review what you need of the first 11-12 chapters to ensure a firm grounding in XML, and then hop to the chapters specific to the problem being faced.
Before I started reading, I knew just the basics about XML. I knew you could write some markup, transfer information using XML-RPC, and a little RSS. But that was about it. However, after finishing, I knew about such wonderful acronyms like XSLT, XPath, WDDX, and UDDI. I was also able to build on my beginning knowledge of RSS, DOM, XML-RPC, and SOAP. And finally, I learned all about the world of XML Security which I never knew existed.
In between the teachings of these XML topics, PHP was used for the code examples. Although PHP has an extremely large selection of XML tools and a lot of time was spent with these tools, I found the coverage to be complementary rather than a main subject. What I mean is that Mr. Richards covered every aspect of XML in great detail. He made sure the reader understood the purpose and mechanics of each topic first. Only after that did he present the reader with the knowledge of how to apply that topic with PHP. This is similar to saying, "Here's XML and here's how to do it with PHP. However, if you don't like the PHP way, at least you still know the core concepts so you can apply it another way."
Although this book is pretty long, I found it to be well written and just the right length to properly go over all the included topics. Each topic is covered in a manageable chapter - and some of the chapters even conclude with really nice example projects. It's obvious Mr. Richards spent a lot of time putting this book together and his finished work was well worth the effort. Apress has done a great job releasing another "Pro" title and by choosing Mr. Richards to write it.
01. Introduction to XML and Web Services
02. XML Structure
04. XPath, XPointer, XInclude
05. PHP and XML
06. Document Object Model
08. Simple API for XML
10. Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations
11. Effective and Efficient Processing
12. XML Security
13. PEAR and XML
14. Content Syndication: RSS and Atom
15. Web Distributed Data Exchange
17. Representational State Transfer
19. Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI)
20. PEAR and Web Services
21. Other XML Technologies and Extensions
If you need a book that dives into the XML technology and doesn't look back, this is a nice pickup that gets the job done. Lots of other Apress books I feel are a bit too long, but this book at over 900 pages I have less complaints about. It's solidly written and a nice companion book to have on your bookshelf for anyone that programs with XML.