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Effective XML by Elliotte Rusty Harold

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Joined: Feb 15, 2002
Posts: 943
<pre>Author/s : Elliotte Rusty Harold
Publisher : Addison-Wesley
Category : XML
Review by : Jim Yingst
Rating : 9 horseshoes
</pre>
The title Effective XML invites comparison with industry classics Effective C++ and Effective Java - each compact collections of very good and useful advice which help the reader master the finer points of the a programming language. This book is, thankfully, a worthy successor to this tradition.
Effective XML is aimed at developers with a decent working understanding of XML, though not necessarily a huge amount of experience with it. But even if you are so experienced with XML that you already know everything the book has to say (very unlikely), you may well find it useful to have a copy on hand to smack the heads of your less experienced co-workers who are in need of some good advice. Because you'll probably find you agree with what ERH has to say, and it can be easier to invoke this book as an authority than to spend your own time trying to convince wayward developers of the error of their ways.
Little time is spent here explaining the details of how to do things; instead the focus more is on when and why to do them. Or why not. The interest is mostly in core concepts like syntax and structure, DTDs, schemas, parsing, etc, emphasizing important but subtle details you may well have missed when you first studied them. The writing style is very clear, concise, and practical. I'd recommend this to just about anyone working with XML in some form.


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Book Review Team
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Joined: Feb 15, 2002
Posts: 943
<pre>Author/s : Elliotte Rusty Harold
Publisher : Addison-Wesley Pub Co
Category : XML
Review by : Thomas Paul
Rating : 9 horseshoes
</pre>
Imagine you are given the opportunity to ask one of the leading experts on XML 50 questions. And further imagine that this expert will answer those questions clearly and completely. You can stop imagining because Elliotte Rusty Harold has done exactly that in this book. Whether you are a relative newbie or an experienced XML developer, you will find useful information in this book. Should I use DOM or SAX? What's the right way to encode binary data? When should I use processing instructions? Should I use XML 1.1? Do I really need to parse my documents? This is just a random sample of the questions that Harold answers in this book. Every page contains valuable information. Harold is unusual in that even though he is an expert he still remembers what it is like to not know something. His explanations don't leave any blanks that you need to fill in. There are no jumps from point A to point Z without taking you through the points in between.
So who should buy this book? Anyone who has some knowledge of XML who is interested in working with XML the right way. Whether you are developing applications to process or create an XML document or whether you are simply designing an XML document you need to read this book. Once you understand the basics of XML, this book will take you to the next step of being able to work with XML effectively.


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Book Review Team
Bartender

Joined: Feb 15, 2002
Posts: 943
<pre>Category : XML
Review by : John Wetherbie
Rating : 10 horseshoes
</pre>
Elliotte Rusty Harold states in the introduction of Effective XML that the book is neither an introductory book nor an XML tutorial. Rather, it is a distillation of the author's experience using and teaching XML and how to use it effectively. The book does a great job of explaining how to use XML and its related technologies.

The book is divided into four major sections: Syntax, Structure, Semantics, and Implementation. Each of the fifty Items packs a lot of information into a few pages. The Items span topics such as why you should Include an XML Declaration (Item 1), Make Structure Explicit through Markup (Item 11), Program to Standard APIs (Item 31), and Write in Unicode (Item 38). Even the Introduction is valuable because it sets the definitions for XML-related terms used in the rest of the book that the author has found to be used interchangeably or inconsistently.

I found the book very readable and like that the information is presented in digestible chunks. Effective XML isn't meant to hype XML but to identify what the actual capabilities of XML and its related technologies are and how best to use them. The book does an outstanding job at this task.

Full disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book for review.


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