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No Nonsense XML Web Development With PHP [Paperback]

Thomas Myer
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 25.99
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Book Description

6 Aug 2005

A practical and concise book that teaches XML from the ground up. This tutorial style presents various XML methodologies and techniques in an easy to understand way, building a basis for further exploration.

XML is essentially an enabling technology, dry and boring on its own. As a result, most books on the market are dry, and academic in nature teaching theory rather than practice. This book actually teaches practical, real-world applications of XML, using the very latest version of PHP (PHP 5) as the base language .

No Nonsense XML Web Development with PHP explains how XML can be put to use in real-world projects. The book also covers buzz topics such as RSS and Web Services.

From the Publisher

If ever there were a candidate for "Most Hyped Technology' it would be Extensible Markup Language (XML). 'No Nonsense XML Web Development With PHP' cuts through the hype and shows you how to get the most of this powerful, multifaceted technology.

No Nonsense XML Web Development With PHP dispenses with the theoretical possibilities of XML and presents real, practical uses of XML that you can apply to your existing Websites today. The book will teach you, step-by-step, exactly how to:
  • Create a full-blown Content Management System (CMS) based on XML.
  • Create a dynamic site map using XSLT.
  • Generate XML feeds (including RSS) for your Website.
  • Facilitate transfer of important information between disparate systems using XML-RPC
  • Use the Document Object Model (DOM) to manipulate documents.
  • Rapidly process XML using PHP 5.0's built-in SimpleXML functionality.
Unlike other dry, boring, theoretical writing on XML, this book doesn't cover the entire spectrum of XML technologies; it covers practical uses of XML that are useful to Web developers right now.

This book is designed to help you to get your feet (and perhaps your ankles, shins, and knees) wet with the topic of XML. You can instantly test out and apply the code examples provided in the book (and available for free download) to get a hands-on feel for the technology, and you'll gain the confidence to go out and build more.

The XML-powered content management system (CMS) that you'll build will be a complete, ready-to-use application. It draws on the author's experience of building XML-powered

Who Should Read This Book?

No-Nonsense XML Web Development With PHP is ideal for Web developers who want to discover what can be done using XML, whether they be experienced with PHP or relative newcomers. All that's needed to get started is a good understanding of HTML and some experience with PHP.

The book is written in the usual SitePoint style: it's clear and fun to read, with plenty of blocks of example code that you can apply immediately to your own Websites.

There's no need to re-type any of the code from the book. As always, all customers will receive instant download access to all the code and files used in the book so you can apply them immediately to your own projects.

What Says...

"Kudos to the author for writing chapters on XML without sounding boring, redundant or too academic. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in developing PHP-driven Web sites that provide or consume Web services, work with XML data or generate XML for others to use."

Product details

  • Paperback: 354 pages
  • Publisher: SitePoint; 1 edition (6 Aug 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097524020X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0975240205
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 18 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,096,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


It contained the clearest explanation of XML I have ever read. -- Kevin Chilton

From the Publisher

Why Use XML?

XML technologies allow you to future-proof your Web sites and services. They ensure that data you are managing today can easily be adapted for future needs, allowing you to easily transform it into new data formats as they emerge, or build new services in order to accomplish new tasks with your existing data.

XML also serves as a common platform for the transmission and sharing of data between separate systems, allowing the rapid development of Web services that query, retrieve and share data among many sources.

XML is not just a universal data format; it is also a universal library of technologies (including XSLT, XSL-FO, XPath, XQuery, DOM) for transforming documents between otherwise incompatible formats, presenting data in particular styles and formats, querying data from data sources, and manipulating data in a heirarchical, tree-like form. XML standards have been implemented in every major operating system and programming language, ensuring that one of your most important assets - your data - will always be accessible in the future.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressed 22 Sep 2006
The title of this book makes it sound like exactly the sort of book that I'd hate, but it's actually the best introduction to XML, XSLT etc. that I've found by a long way. It does use an example of a content management system to illustrate the concepts but this is a separate section at the end of each chapter rather than intruding on the main text. It uses PHP when examples in a programming language are needed, but it's not especially PHP-focused - PHP is just a nice simple language to use for the examples and is more an XML book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what it claims to be 26 Aug 2010
By Ade H
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When I was given a copy of this book, I had high hopes for it. I had been looking for information about using PHP to work with XML data, and I hoped and expected that it would provide lots of practical information about using PHP and Xpath to manipulate XML, access its data, and use it in web pages.

I was disappointed to find just one chapter that is dedicated to such tasks, and it provided very little detail. Added to that is a very brief look at Xpath functions, a short appendix with a few SimpleXML functions, and an occasional moderately useful snippet of information here and there. A large part of this book comprises information that would be of little or no use to anyone who already knows how to write XML documents. If it were not for the inclusion of code for a very basic XML-driven CMS, this book should really have been titled something like "Beginning XML" and in that context, it would be quite effective.

This is all the more disappointing because good web tutorials about using SimpleXML and Xpath with PHP are very hard to find. Perhaps, with the ubiquity of MySQL-driven content management systems, the potential of XML as a data source has been overlooked somewhat. Which is a shame. Sometimes, a lightweight and customised solution is the best option.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok but not great 19 Feb 2006
By P. N. Payne - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is my revised and rewritten review of this book.

The first review dated Feb 19 was just two stars, titled `Disjointed and Superficial', and read...

I bought Myer's book to help me move from XHTML to XML and to handle data with PHP which does not fit well in a relational database / SQL. I am not interested in writing a CMS, and therefore tried to skim or skip those parts. Unfortunately, some key points are buried in the CMS discussion. Subjects (ie: Namespace) seem to be mentioned or touched on in several places without doing a thorough job at any one point or multiple points. The subjects which are discussed, are not discussed in depth. And why is Ralph Waldo Emmerson given ink on page 59, and then included in the index??? I found myself working a little too hard to just get the important points.

I know Myer tried very hard to write a good book, and it is not a 'really bad' book. On a positive note: The editing error rate seems to be low as compared to a lot of first edition, first printing computer books. There is some good material in it, but this book does not work well for me. I have at least temporarily given up on this book a little short of the half way point. Since finding a really good XML book seems harder than it should be, I may come back to this one, and if so, I'll update this opinion.

Warning: [3 opinions given here appear to be by paid reviewers. ie: 9/14/05, 10/7/05, and 11/8/05. I now suspect some of the others are personal friends of the author. Hint: Check out the person writing the review before actually reading it. Look for how many opinions he/she writes and how many stars. I distrust all high opinions in the first few months of publication, all high opinions by people who have only written a couple of opinions, and all high opinions from people who only write high opinions. Bottom Line: Distrust all high opinions except those from people who have established some evidence of independence by posting negative as well as positive opinions about other books. Thanks for the lack of honesty Tommy &/or Sitepoint &/or big A. I would have given 3 stars if there were not so many false ones posted here. (my opinion, 2 cma).]

Now, having finished Myer's book (except for most of the CMS stuff), I have changed it to 3 stars and concluded ....

There are about an equal number of pros and cons. It is somewhat light and easy to read, and the editing error rate is good. It is kind of a quick survey of subjects which Myer thinks are important. I did like chapters 7 & 9 (Manipulating XML with PHP, & XML and Web Services).

On the con side: The Appendix listing of PHP functions / methods is not complete and no examples are given. Where he discusses ways to extract XML from a database, two different sources (tables) are used, so the results are not comparable. I wish he had spent more ink on handling XML with PHP and less on client side technologies which are not well supported yet. I found the example listings a little short and lacking some additional code which would have helped follow what was supposed to happen. More output/results listings would also have helped.

The book is not particularly complete, and could not be used as a reference, but it may be ok (not great) as an overview or introduction. A better intro book may be `Beginning XML, 3rd Edition' by David Hunter etc., although that is a much bigger book.

Lastly, do not trust any high star rating review unless the source has proven his/her impartiality by posting positive as well as not so positive reviews of other books. Too many opinions of this book do not pass that simple test. The basic problem is determining who to believe and which postings to suspect are covertly trying to sell books because they have a vested interest or undisclosed motive.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic XML Guide!! 14 Sep 2005
By Dan McKinnon - Published on
I've done a lot of reviews for computer reference books out there, and I am continually impressed by the sitepoint line of web development books. I have yet to find a book by sitepoint that I didn't find immediately useful or get something out of, and 'No Nonsense XML Web Development With PHP' keeps the tradition of great books going. The first thing that I would like to state is that while 'PHP' is on the cover of this text, this is a little misleading. PHP is the chosen server-side language used in examples throughout, but this book is not just for PHP developers. Having primarily worked in the ASP/ASP.NET world, I wasn't sure if this book would be very useful with my track record and if there is any complaint to be made, it's that I think the PHP part should have been dropped, as this will no doubt cause an audience that would have found this book useful to shy away and pick up a related text without the PHP note in the title.

As for the book itself, the author begins with a history of XML and some basic examples of its usefulness in the everyday world (why it's here to stay). Not only providing the basics and history of XML, the author goes on to talk about what DTDs/schemas are used for and how XSLT can be used to turn an XML document into another XML document, an HTML document, etc. How Javascript can be used on the client-side to access and modify XML is discussed, and then PHP is demonstrated in numerous examples to show how real logic can be put in use with XML data. The author also discusses RSS, web services and how to incorporate XML data and a database.

All in all, this is great book for any individual to learn more about how to use XML in your web site/application. More a teaching tool than a reference, this book follows up on the great history of other sitepoint books and is a highly recommended resource for any web professional that wants to learn more about XML and how it has benefited everyone (and I do mean everyone since XML is so highly integrated with the Internet as a whole). PHP and MySQL users will get an added bonus since this is the focus environment of the book, but as stated right off the bat, you do not have to be an open-source developer to find this text highly useful.

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Straight to the point - best way to learn XML for the Web! 18 Sep 2005
By R. Dlugy-Hegwer - Published on
If you're like me and learn by DOING, this is the book for you. In each section, the author gets straight to the point he is making and then shows you how to do it, step by step. You start from scratch and end up with a working XML content management system and a head full of knowledge. He doesn't elaborate on all the open ended possibilities till your head hurts - he just shows you how to do it in 260 pages (excluding Appendices). Written in plain clear jargon-free English, and completely free of silly examples. This is simply the best book I've read on this topic.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review from Peter MacIntyre 19 Oct 2005
By Peter B. MacIntyre - Published on
Thomas Myer has his hands full in his book called "XML Web Development with PHP". This is a large and potentially complex topic, but the author does an excellent job in covering the basic concepts in the early chapters. Then he does an equally great job in the details of combining XML concepts with the PHP Language.

Mr. Myer takes a lighthearted approach to his authorship style and that lends itself to easy reading and therefore better understanding of the subject at hand. The occasional tongue-in-cheek comment intermixed with the text also helps alleviate some of the potential boredom with such a technical subject.

Eventually the author gets into the subject of using XML within the PHP environment. Covering the three available approaches (SAX, DOM, and SimpleXML) is done well and with clear, small, and easy-to-handle examples. I was impressed with the book overall, and since I may be dealing with both XML and PHP in the near future I will keep this book close at hand.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been better 9 April 2007
By Kerry Kobashi - Published on
This book has a few shortcomings. The author goes about building a toy CMS that stores various content types. One of the content types is an article. A big disappointment is that he uses a CDATA section to encapsulate the content of an article - it simply contains XHTML tags. I was quite disappointed when I saw this because it cheapened the book and gave it less technical depth. A more suitable example would have been to use simplified Docbook or even come up with a simple article DTD consisting of custom element tags. Then show by example XML/PHP/XSLT on that DTD. That would have been way more useful.

For PHP developers, this book doesn't use much of it until well into the middle chapters. There are quick tutorials on DTDs, RSS, and SimpleXML that are good. The chapter on client side Javascript should have been removed (wasn't this book about PHP?). The templating framework is backwards - the author uses php includes to build out the page. He should have used XSLT to create a proper XHTML transformation instead.

The writing is generally quite good and the reading light. You can go sit outside on the porch without a computer and follow it quite nicely. The organization and topic coverage is good also. I would have liked to see more technical depth and thought put into it, rather than what appeared to be a quick surface introduction. For example, show more how you can pass variables between PHP and XSLT as well as how to cache the pages. The admin panel should also take into consideration that to see 1000 articles on one full page is silly - use a pager.

Because the author used too many shortcuts to write this book, I gave it an average rating. If you are looking for a basic book on XML/PHP development, this is a good start. For those more experienced, I'm afraid this won't suit your experience level and would be left looking for more.
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