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Questions to Ajith, the XML guru

Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Ajith the IBM certified Developer for XML and Related Technologies Kallambella, (now THIS is your name ), was it IBM 140 test? So how difficult it was? Did you have only theoretical questions or practical assigment also? Which books were good for preparation? Where can I find Maha's mock exam list for IBM 140 ?
Oh, I forgot. Congratulations!
No, Big Envious Congraulations!


Uncontrolled vocabularies
"I try my best to make *all* my posts nice, even when I feel upset" -- Philippe Maquet
Ajith Kallambella
Sheriff

Joined: Mar 17, 2000
Posts: 5782
chuckle chuckle
Well, use caution before you call me guru...I'm still learning. ( so much to paint the "I'm humble" picture )
A lot of people don't know about IBM certification because it is VERY new. But if you want to get some credentials in the ( should I say the bleeding-edge ) XML technology, this is the ONLY available test out there. Checkout the official XML certification page at IBM for more details.
This certification is tough and tricky( and hence justifies the 50% passing marks ). The questions are evenly distributed across theoretical and practical concepts. I took about 2 months to prepare for the test ( don't forget I have 8-5 J.O.B ) with about 2-3 hrs of study per (working) day. Weekends not included.
Since the whole thing is still in its infancy, you will face some hurdles on the way. Unlike the famous Java certification, there are no certification guides or tutorials for this exam. IBM recommends reading the W3C core specs for all the XML related stuff, but if you haven't read such specs before you will lose interest in the whole thing. They are as "unfriendly" as a legal document
There are two( yes, only TWO!! ) resources for this exam. One is the tutorial from Certificationguru.com and the otherone is the EGroups discussion board for XML certification. I found the certguru tutorial grossly inadequate and the egroups discussion board not so helpful.

Before you start shooting off questions( I don't blame your curiosity and/or enthusiasm), checkout the following quickFAQ ( QFAC )


  • What study materials did I use ?
    I read the XML Bible cover to cover.I would recommend this book. I am avoiding the word "strongly" for two reasons, one is that it is out of date (this is not a big deal as you can download the updated chapters from the author's web site) and the other is that it does not discuss DOM & SAX (again, the author's web site comes to our rescue). This book is otherwise a great resource. The author could have made it more interesting with smaller examples, rather than using baseball statistics running into many pages.
    If you do not mind torturing yourself for the sake of learning from the horse's mouth, go ahead and read the W3C documents. If you are used to reading cryptic legal parlance, you are better off than I am, go ahead !. Having said that, I should acknowledge that I found the W3C DOM document to be, should I say readable!
    Alternatively, you could read the book
    Inside XML. I saw the book in bookstore and it looked good. I cannot comment if this is better book that XML Bible as I have not read it. It is definitely more complete from exam point of view as it discusses DOM and SAX as well.
    I wouldnot want to miss mentioning the very cool XML databases by (our own ) Kevin. Though this book is an overkill for certification guide, it is a must have on your bookshelf if you are planning serious XML development. I was really impressed by the DOM coverage this book has.
    There are hundreds of free XML-related internet resources. You CAN pass the exam without spending a penny on the book. Remember that
    For namespace check this out, very useful: www.rpbourret.com/xml/NamespacesFAQ.htm
    I found Zvon tutorial (www.zvon.org) to be pretty cool and useful.
    XML exam from brainbench.com will help you practice, but in no way it compares with the actual exam. IBM's exam is much tougher.

  • What tools did I use ?.
    I used XML Spy for IDE and apache's Java based DOM and SAX APIs, and also apache's command line XML parser. Try working out with some tools to understand how they work in general and how do they notify errors and exceptions. XML Spy IDE is very elegant and it has neat well formedness and validity checking and notification. Try to play with as many parsers as you can get. Just like Java compilers, some of them give better description of the error(s) when compared to others. The more you have, the merrier it will be
    Note: Do not go overboard with using XML IDE tools. Most of them expect support from IE5.x system files (probably the DLLs) for their functioning. IE5.x does not stick to W3C recommendations in full, specially the way they handle default template rules. So beware of W3C XML Vs Microsoft XML

  • What is the nature of the exam ?
    The exam probably tends to test your skills at a very fundamental level. What I mean is that you will find very few questions like, you have this XML file and if you apply this XSLT, what will be the result ?.
    You got what I am saying. So working tons of XML and XSLT tutorials neglecting the fundamental concepts may not be sufficient. Please refer to IBM's practice test questions to a have feel of what I am saying. The actual exam pattern is similar.
    Caution - there will be a lot of tricky questions. You will have to know ALL the objectives mentioned on the IBM site. Don't neglect anything, even if you think you know it. Give equal importance to all objectives.

  • The myth about CSS, XSL-FO, SAX, SCHEMAs ... ?
    The exam syllabus does not emphatically specify their inclusion (barring XSL-FO). But the reality is slightly different. I had a direct questions on SAX, XSL-FO, SCHEMA and some questions relating to CSS Vs XSL. I would definitely recommend you to know about these, if not entirely. If you've worked with CSS before, you need not read those concepts again.

  • How tough is the exam ?
    The exam is not very tough, but not very easy either. It is definitely not a piece of cake. The notion that questions in the exam are much easier that IBM sample questions is not true at all!. Some questions are easier and some are as tough, a lot of them are even tougher. You will have just enough time to complete it. Timing is an issue. You may not have time to revisit all the questions, unless you have a very fast CPU.

  • What additional reading do I recommend ?
    The books XML Bible and Inside XML do not teach much on XML design, applying XML to a specific domain, testing and implemantation etc. There are many questions specific on how XML technology can be applied to differnt industrial domains like, finacial institutions, e-bussiness, b2b, legacy systems etc. You need to perhaps refer to some other books. Try to surf the internet and find additional resources, this will also help you realize that you are talking about bleeding edge evolving technology.
    Last but not least, come here, to JavarRanch XML forum and ask questions. Though they may not directly related to your certification, it will help you learn newer things faster.

  • [list] Distribution of questions

    [/list]
    Phew! That was a long one!. Hope it helps other aspirants!
    As always, if you have questions ask me and I'll try to help
    Good luck,

    ------------------
    Ajith Kallambella M.
    Sun Certified Programmer for the Java�2 Platform.
    IBM Certified Developer - XML and Related Technologies, V1.

    [This message has been edited by Ajith Kallambella (edited February 12, 2001).]


Open Group Certified Distinguished IT Architect. Open Group Certified Master IT Architect. Sun Certified Architect (SCEA).
Meadowlark Bradsher
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 23, 2001
Posts: 109
Ajith,
You are our pioneer.
I've noticed that you reference this thread frequently and I thought I would use it to ask you a question that is nagging me. Thus putting up in front of the thread subjects. Feel free to transplant this elsewhere.
I have three full days left to study for the XML certification exam. I seemed to be passing on the separate mock exams provided by yourself and IBM Corporation respectively (77.8% for IBM and 66% on yours). The question is: Have you found any suitable study material in print or on the web that comfortably addresses the Implementation/Testing category of the exam? It seems to be the hardest area to find writing on.
If the mock exams are simliar to the actual exam as I have heard, it seems like it often asks you to have the correct "sense" (as in "common sense" only it may not be as common) in order to answer correctly. Thus supplementing the study of code standards with the study of good tutorials seems like the best way to find some of this "sense" (after actually having experience using it on projects, that is). But Implementation and Testing, which I has scored lowest on is a little elusive.
It did seem like many of those Implementation/Testing questions could be redefined as Design. Perhaps that is my best option.
Do you have any recommendations on this area from your experience?

Meadowlark Bradsher,
SCJ2P club member and XML Disciple.


Meadowlark Bradsher
SCJ2P, IBM XML V1, Series 7/63
Ajith Kallambella
Sheriff

Joined: Mar 17, 2000
Posts: 5782
I apologise for getting to this so late. I hope you haven't taken the exam yet!

Have you found any suitable study material in print or on the web that comfortably addresses the Implementation/Testing category of the exam? It seems to be the hardest area to find writing on.

You are absolutely right. The only folks who can crack these questions are the ones who are working on full-throttle XML-based projects. This technology being so new( and the test itself is called V1 - version one!! ) it is hard to gain real life experiece.
I used two strategies - second guess and use common sense.
Common Sence - If you have worked on testing phase of any big project you can apply the same rules for an XML based project too. For example - stress/performance testing should be given weightage, testing should cover all the real-life scenarios, yada yada yada.
Second guess( and review ) - Plan your time in such a way you have some time to revisit Testing/Implementation questions. BE VERY THRIFTY ON MANAGING YOUR TIME. IT IS HARDER THAN SCJP. Since questions from various topics come in no particular order, don't spend too much time munching over confusing questions. Mark them and move on. When you have moved to the end of the test, you can revisit the questions marked for review - the software works just like the SCJP exam application. When your mind goes "blank", go with your gut feel.
I know my answer may not sound very convincing, but as I said, there are hardly any materials out there that 'teaches' best practices of XML implementation/testing. One comforting fact is that you only need 50% to pass the exam and sufficient knowledge about other objectives - XML 101, XSL, XSLT, DOM spec, Parsing etc. is good enough to reach there!
Good luck,
Ajith
Gemini Moses
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 04, 2001
Posts: 245
Hello Meadowlark,
Wish u Beast Of Luck.
Can u please tell me which mock exam r u refering to when u say 'separate mock exams provided by yourself(I suppose u mean Ajith) where is it located?
Thanks,
Gemini
Meadowlark Bradsher
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 23, 2001
Posts: 109
Thanks Ajith, for your last minute words of encouragement. I am going in to take it tomorrow morning. I've studied myself numb.
Gemini, sorry I looked and I can't find the link to Ajith's test. I want to give you the url to the actual test app. Its more fun than just the text questions and answers. Perhaps Ajith can give it to you. Otherwise I am sure I can find the original post with the questions put forth in plain text if you want that.
If this thread is a reuseable document (Ajith points to it often) then it might be good to have that url on it too.
Ajith, do you have it handy?
I used these exams to measure my weakness not my growth because they were a one time shot. After the first use I'd likely memorize many of the answers. So I took them the day that I had a terrible headache and I went to a local cafe where I knew people would try to talk to me. It was the perfect environment. :-)
Well, perhaps I should start relaxing soon to be sure that I get good rest.

-Meadowlark Bradsher
Ajith Kallambella
Sheriff

Joined: Mar 17, 2000
Posts: 5782
Here is the link to my first XML Certification mock exam. My friend Mapraputa( aka the HTML Goddess) made a really neat web-app using these questions. For some reason I am unable to find it. I hope it was not lost during the last site crash
Map, where have you hidden your precious app??
About this mock itself, I promised to add a few more questions but couldn't find time. It is still on my plate
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
Yeah, the crash interrupted my intensive exam-publishing activity...
List of XML-mocks-to-be is here http://www.javaranch.com/xml/XMLexamList.jsp
Warning: works with IE only!
I'll improve is as soon as I figure out how to get new FTP access
Meadowlark Bradsher
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 23, 2001
Posts: 109
One last post and I'll leave this thread be.
I passed! :-)
It seemed like there were more questions about xsl tags than I expected. But I answered everything the first time I read it and "marked" the doubtful ones for me to return to. That way if I ran out of time at least something would be selected. Actually I ended up having 20 minutes to review these and I changed only a few (hopefiully for the better - but perhaps I'll never know). Either way, whoopee!
Thanks,
Meadowlark Bradsher
Sun Certified Java 2 Programmer
IBM Certified Developer - XML and Related Technolgies, V1.
Ajith Kallambella
Sheriff

Joined: Mar 17, 2000
Posts: 5782
WOW! Congratulations Bradsher!!
Gemini Moses
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 04, 2001
Posts: 245
Congrats Meadowlark. and thanks for providing me the link.
I hope the number of mocks increase....
Manju Jain
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 08, 2001
Posts: 168
Congrats! Bradsher
Hoping to take up the xml certification in 2 months time and am really grateful for all the hints and help available here. Thanks to all.
rajala yoganand
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 02, 2001
Posts: 1
Hey All,
I just cleared the exam on last saturday i.e July 30th 2001 with a score of 79%. I just want to add some comments on how the exam was. Let me clear some of the doubts i was having before going to exam
1) All the questions are single answer questions, there are NO
questions like "Select any Two Or select any three kind of"
2) Hardly any syntax based questions
3) Most of the questions i saw are kind of Vs
Like a) DOM Vs SAX
b) Attribute Vs Element
c) CSS Vs XSL
d) DTD Vs Schema (only one question on Schema)
You just need to have clear understanding of When to use what
and what are the implications etc. Exam covers all the topics.
I just read XML Bible, Tutorial from IBM Site, Inside XML for
XML Schema, JGuru tutorial. Hope this helps.
Yogi
suma kasukela
Greenhorn

Joined: Jun 29, 2001
Posts: 2
Originally posted by rajala yoganand:
Hey All,
I just cleared the exam on last saturday i.e July 30th 2001 with a score of 79%. I just want to add some comments on how the exam was. Let me clear some of the doubts i was having before going to exam
1) All the questions are single answer questions, there are NO
questions like "Select any Two Or select any three kind of"
2) Hardly any syntax based questions
3) Most of the questions i saw are kind of Vs
Like a) DOM Vs SAX
b) Attribute Vs Element
c) CSS Vs XSL
d) DTD Vs Schema (only one question on Schema)
You just need to have clear understanding of When to use what
and what are the implications etc. Exam covers all the topics.
I just read XML Bible, Tutorial from IBM Site, Inside XML for
XML Schema, JGuru tutorial. Hope this helps.
Yogi

Hello Yoganand,
Congratulations!!! Thankyou for providing the useful information about the examination pattern. Even i am planning to take the exam within a month, so please if you can give me the URL's for the tutorials you referred, it will be very helpful for me.
Thank you.
Ajith Kallambella
Sheriff

Joined: Mar 17, 2000
Posts: 5782
Here it is, the
XML Mock Exam list at Javaranch - http://www.javaranch.com/xml/XMLexamList.jsp
Ajith Kallambella
Sheriff

Joined: Mar 17, 2000
Posts: 5782
Please post issues related to the original topic only under this thread. If you have general announcements, or questions concerning certification, you can create a new thread under the main forum. This way we can avoid too much of digression.
Thank you for your understanding !
Madhav Lakkapragada
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 03, 2000
Posts: 5040
just resurrecting the thread, incase anyone else is looking
for it.
regds.
- satya

Take a Minute, Donate an Hour, Change a Life
http://www.ashanet.org/workanhour/2006/?r=Javaranch_ML&a=81
Sanjeev Arya
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 13, 2001
Posts: 58
Hi,
I just read somewhere that starting September 2001 the XML exam from IBM will have a new format/look etc. Does anybody have any useful information or pointers to resources regarding this?
Thanks
Sanjeev
Ashish Jain
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 23, 2000
Posts: 50
I got one more link related to XML schemas.
It may be useful for those who preparing for xml certification.
http://www.ibiblio.org/xml/books/bible2/chapters/ch24.html
Initially as everybody said, there is no mention of xml schemas in "XML bible" book, so here it is!!
Thanks
Ashish Jain


Ashish Jain<br />MCP, SJCP, IBM XML, SCEA
 
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