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XML Pocket Reference: Extensible Markup Language (Pocket Reference (O'Reilly)) Paperback – 21 Apr 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 2 edition (21 April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596001339
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596001339
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 0.8 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,686,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Amazon Review

There are a couple of problems with creating an XML reference book. For one thing, XML is by definition extensible, so unlike HTML the available tags are not fixed but defined by the author of a DTD (Document Type Definition) or XML schema. The other issue is that the XML specification itself is under revision. Even so, a concise presentation of XML rules and terms makes a valuable guide. The beauty of these O'Reilly pocket reference books is that they provide notes and examples along with reference information, making this useful for learning as well as information.

The book has four main sections. The first covers XML itself, showing the rules that a well-formed XML document has to follow, including legal XML instructions and rules for elements and attributes. Next comes the DTD (Document Type Definition), with its own rules for declaring elements, entities and attributes. The third part is about XSL (Extensible Stylesheet Language), and includes several pages of explanation about how XSL works, as well as a list of XSL elements. Finally there is XLink and XPointer, which define how you set up links between XML documents, or between XML and HTML documents. There is also an index.

There are a few gaps here. For example, it would be nice to see coverage of XML Schema, an alternative to DTDs and much used by Microsoft in its XML implementation. Even so, in just over 100 pages, this pocket reference does a great job in capturing the essence of what you need to know to author well-formed XML documents. --Tim Anderson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Robert Eckstein, an editor at O'Reilly, works mostly on Java books (notably Java Swing) and is also responsible for the XML Pocket Reference and Webmaster in a Nutshell, 2nd Edition. In his spare time he has been known to provide online coverage for popular conferences. He also writes articles for JavaWorld magazine. Robert holds bachelor's degrees in computer science and communications from Trinity University. In the past, he has worked for the USAA insurance company and more recently spent four years with Motorola's cellular software division. He is the co-author of Using Samba.

Michel Casabianca is an independent XML and Java developer.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 Mar. 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not a bad intro - but 10 quid for a tiny (5 x 3 inch ~ish) overview, that doesn't cover any of the new important things (XPath etc). Buy a book for twice the price, and you'll get ten times the value (a rule I seem to be noticing in general about IT books at the moment - going the cheapy route is not the best option unluckily!!)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 May 2000
Format: Paperback
Very handy little book for reference, not always up to date, but some very useful examples.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 Feb. 2000
Format: Paperback
The author warns you about the changing standards! What he didn't say was the apparent inconsistancy between the examples within. This is most frustrating when you're trying to understand namespaces and then he no longer uses it/them.
Even using IE5.x some examples don't work. Perhaps enlightenment of the tools used first would be a better starting point.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Jun. 2001
Format: Paperback
NOTE: This is a pocket reference, it is not meant to take anyone from beginner to expert, there are other books for that. This is a very good complementary book - one to sit alongside bigger books on XML as a dip-in reference tool. Very good explanations of XML syntax, especially DTD's and Schemas (not available yet in IE5). Handy reference tool for XML functions and structures.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 31 reviews
53 of 53 people found the following review helpful
More than just a pocket reference 12 Dec. 1999
By Ghawk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I thought that I would just give the bottom line on this great little XML Pocket Reference by Oreilly. This book is a perfect quick read for getting yourself up and running on XML as well as being a good quick reference. I bought the book expecting it to only be useful when looking up a XML term while programming and was pleasantly surprised to find that it doubled as a (bare minimum) tutorial for XML. This is a great and inexpensive book for the expert needing a reference guide that is easy to carry around as well as for a beginner that just wants to read a quick and uncomplicated guide to XML.
40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
97 pages of true value 28 Mar. 2000
By John van Rij - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
XML Pocket Reference is a true ode to the concept of "Pocket Reference". It doesn't matter if you are a beginner or an experienced developer, this book that is just a bit larger than your remote control will satisfy your expectations.
The first 10 pages of this 97 pages booklet will get you quickly up and running with the terminology, good enough to understand the structure and to be able to discuss the concept with colleagues. As in most O'Reilly books, the writer expects you to have some experience in programming as it discusses the concept and syntax quickly and without major examples.
The rest of the booklet is a reference to XML elements and attributes, document type definitions and the extensible stylesheet language. This section is a great reference as everything is easy to find and well indexed. For beginners this part of the "book" is a great but sometimes complex tutorial as every section is supported by quick samples of code.
When I bought this book, I was sceptic with the idea that this book was going to get me developing XML within 1 day. But O'Reilly proved that I was wrong. In less than a day I had my first XML page up and running, and now I use this book to give me the basics for every concept I try to implement.
One reviewer was right when he said on O'Reilly's site that you don't need a 500-page book to learn or develop XML.
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Skip the Tomes 7 Feb. 2000
By Hellified - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a great effort from O'Reilly. As a developer I find it discouraging to be handed a 1200 page book on every topic. I now spend lots of time finding a small book with the right stuff and no filler. It pays off in a major way and this book is a great illustration of just that. The author gives the staright facts and suggestions on use without the fluff and pages of what he thinks about it. Buy it. Read it. Develop something useful. Get on with life.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
another good tome from o'reilly 11 Jan. 2000
By benito cerino - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
O'reilly books rarely miss the mark for being to the point references, and this is no exception. You'll get a better understanding of XML here than from books 10 times as long, and you get it without the geek humor. Plus it won't break your wallet. Without hesitation.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Up & Running in No Time! + A Tiny Addition 22 Feb. 2000
By Noah Green - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What can I say? In a very short time, this book made me productive with XML applications. It will do the same for you. This is a clear, concise, and thorough text. In a way, the best thing about the book is that its small size projects the (true) psychological feeling that there really isn't all that much to basic XML - this gives you the confidence you need to move forward and start doing work.
Here's what you get: XML syntax, Namespaces, DTDs, XSL, XPointer, XLink. You're not going to get Schemas, SAX, DOM, or the author's favorite emerging XML dialect. What is so funny about this book, as with all other XML books, is that the XSL section is the longest. XSL is truly convoluted and the author does a great job getting you through it.
Far be it for me to aspire to the greatness of this author, but I found one tiny thing missing from the DTD section, and I will share it with you here: External Parameter Entities. These basically allow you to leverage one DTD within another. It's like a C #include or a Java import. You put them at the bottom of your DTD. So let's say you had a DTD called "stuff.dtd":
<!ELEMENT stuff (thing*)>
<!ELEMENT thing (#PCDATA)>
You could use the "stuff" element in another DTD, say "closetcontents.dtd", as follows:
<!ELEMENT closetcontents (clothing,stuff*)>
<!ELEMENT clothing (#PCDATA)>
<!ENTITY % STUFF SYSTEM "stuff.dtd">
%STUFF;
The last two lines are the external parameter entity...they are the equivalent of an #include statement in C or an import in Java. I made STUFF all caps in the entity declaration to differentiate it from the "stuff" element but as far as I know you don't have to do this.
By no means does my tiny addition say that this is an incomplete book. It is a fantastic book and literally 99.99% of everything you need to know about XML. I don't think the author forgot the thing I described, I think he thought that this feature was too arcane to mention. Many people would agree, but in case you needed it here it is. BTW, another book I highly recommend is Elliotte Rusty Harold's "XML Bible," which is also available on Amazon. That's where I first learned about the external parameter entity.
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