REVIEW: "The Complete Idiot's Guide to XML", David Gulbransen
- BKCIGXML.RVW 20020212
"The Complete Idiot's Guide to XML", David Gulbransen, 2000,
%A David Gulbransen www.vervet.com press@...
%C 201 W. 103rd Street, Indianapolis, IN 46290
%I Macmillan Computer Publishing (MCP)
%O U$24.99/C$37.95/UK#22.99 800-858-7674 317-581-3743 pr@...
%P 332 p. + CD-ROM
%T "The Complete Idiot's Guide to XML"
I'm not really fond of "[Topic] for the Brain Damaged" books, but I
must say that the "Complete Idiot's" books have a rather decent track
record. This book is a very careful and useful guide to getting
started with XML (eXtensible Markup Language). It only covers the
basics, and doesn't get far into the related protocols, but if you are
willing to stick with XML and DTDs (Document Type Definitions) then
pretty much anyone could follow the explanation and tutorial here.
Part one concentrates on getting to know XML. Chapter one provides
the basics of markup, but doesn't really say what XML is. Even
starting with SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language, the
precursor and foundation for XML), in chapter two, doesn't really
explain it in useful terms, but the beginning of the concepts are
there. A decent idea of what XML markup can do is given in chapter
three. Chapter four promotes the use of XML Pro (which the author has
created). Using the XML Pro program to generate elements is covered
in chapter five. Fortunately, this is the last chapter dedicated to
the package, and the rest of the book does concentrate on the base
Part two examines the fundamental building blocks of XML. Chapter six
explains element syntax. Element attribute examples, in chapter
seven, might be confusing for the novice, but the explanations are
sound. Overall XML document structure is dealt with in chapter eight.
A simple, but not quite complete, XML document is described in chapter
Part three moves from the purely XML structure into the concepts
surrounding a base document. Chapter ten presents both a document and
a DTD (Document Type Definition), but since the new material diverges
from what was done before, the content may not be as helpful as it
could have been. A variety of XML derived languages are listed in
chapter eleven. Syntax is reviewed again in discussing "well formed"
documents and validation, in chapter twelve.
Validation leads naturally into the total XML system in part four.
DTDs and Schemas are outlined briefly in chapter thirteen, with more
on DTDs as well as elements, attributes, and structure in chapters
fourteen to seventeen.
Part five deals with slightly more advanced topics. Chapter eighteen
covers declaring entities as shortcuts and abbreviations. More on
entities is in chapter nineteen. Miscellaneous extras as in chapter
twenty. The book finishes off with a sample project in chapter
There is a lot more to the XML system than is encompassed in this
work. However, many books try to cover the entire map and end up with
a confusing mess. Gulbransen has provided enough so that you can
start actually using the system. If readers want to go further, they
can find other resources, but they will, at least, know what the
system is about and how it works.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 2001 BKCIGXML.RVW 20020212
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