XQuery from the Experts: A Guide to the W3C XML Query Language Paperback – 22 Aug 2003
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From the Back Cover
"The individual perspectives on the concepts behind the XQuery language offered by XQuery from the Experts will be of great value to those who are seeking to understand the implications, opportunities, and challenges of XQuery as they design future information systems based on XML."
―Michael Champion, Advisory Research and Development Specialist, Software AG
XQuery answers the growing need for a functional XML search and transformation standard. Backed by the full weight of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), XQuery is being extremely well received by the IT community worldwide. The first major XML language that takes advantage of the benefits of strong typing provided by XML Schema, XQuery has the versatility to manipulate both XML and non-XML data and provides a valuable connection between the world of XML and relational databases.
In XQuery from the Experts, select members of the W3C's XML Query working group come together to discuss every facet of XQuery. From Jonathan Robie's introductory "XQuery: A Guided Tour" to Mary Mary Fernández, Jérôme Siméon, and Philip Wadler's "Introduction to the Formal Semantics," XQuery is revealed in a way that both novice programmers and industry experts can appreciate.
Edited by long-time XML expert and programmer Howard Katz, coverage ranges from strictly technical chapters to comparative essays such as Michael Kay's "XQuery, XPath, and XSLT," which explores the common ancestry of all three languages, and Don Chamberlin's "Influences on the Design of XQuery," which details the process behind XQuery's design.
Key coverage includes:
For IT managers, professionals, programmers, or anyone involved with XML, XQuery from the Experts is an invaluable resource.
About the Author
Howard Katz is the owner of Fatdog Software, a company that specializes in software for searching XML documents, and is the author of XQEngine, a Java-based open-source XQuery implementation. He has more than 35 years of programming experience and is a long-time contributor of technical articles to the computer trade press, including columns on programming matters for both Microsoft and Apple.
Denise Draper is chief technology officer for Nimble Technology in Seattle and holds several patents for XML-based technology. She holds degrees from both CalTech and the University of Washington and is an editor of the Formal Semantics document.
Mary Fernández is a principal technical staff member in Large-Scale Programming Research at AT&T Labs―Research. She has been there since receiving a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Princeton in 1995. Mary is an editor of the Formal Semantics, XPath 2.0, and Data Model documents.
Michael Kay is the developer of Saxon, a highly-regarded XSLT processor, and is the author of the best-selling XSLT Programmer's Reference. He is an editor of the XSL Transformations, XQuery Serialization, and XPath 2.0 documents.
Jonathan Robie is the XML product architect at DataDirect Technologies, working on products that integrate XML and traditional data sources. He is a coauthor of Quilt, the immediate predecessor of XQuery, and is an editor of the main XQuery 1.0, XML Query Requirements, XQueryX, and XPath 2.0 documents.
Michael Rys sits on the Query Working Group on behalf of Microsoft, where he is the Product Manager for SQL Server XML Technologies. He is an editor of the Formal Semantics, XML Query Requirements, and XPath Full-Text Requirements documents.
Jérôme Siméon is a member of the technical staff at Bell Labs. He is one of the implementers of Galax, one of the first XQuery implementations. He is an editor of the XQuery 1.0, XPath 2.0, and Formal Semantics documents.
Jim Tivy has spent over ten years working on database technology. He represents XML Global Technologies on the Working Group. His own company, BlueStream Database Software Corporation, develops and markets XStreamDB, a native XML database product.
Philip Wadler is a researcher at Avaya Labs in New Jersey. He edits the Journal of Functional Programming for Cambridge University Press and is an editor of the Formal Semantics document.
Don Chamberlin, coauthor of the well-known SQL database language standard, is IBM's representative on the XML Query Working Group and is an editor of both the W3C's XML Query Use Cases and Data Model documents. In 2003, he was named an IBM Fellow, the company's highest technical honor. Don also coauthored Quilt, the immediate predecessor of XQuery.
Top Customer Reviews
For anyone with previous XML experience this is the XQuery book to buy.
The book managed to demystify a lot of the terms used in W3C documentation, but could have been better in:
1. more comprehensively explaining XML syntax for XQuery (eg. XQueryX)
2. not spending as much time justifying the existence of XQuery
This is absolutely not a "how-to" guide. Instead this is what you need to read to fully understand the language and how it works.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
If you are a serious XQuery user, are interested in a case study in standards development, or are into relational theory this book is probably worth a look.
For the first group of potential readers, I doubt you'll find a book that better explains what ideas were essential in the design of the language, how it evolved to where it is at today and why it does what it does. There isn't a chapter in this book that isn't applicable to what you'll want to know and every essential landmark is set out for you. Don't expect this book to be a tutorial on how to use XQuery - we're likely too far away from a consistent standard for that. Do, however, expect to learn what XQuery is, why it's the way it is and where it fits in your bag of tricks. People in this group will especially like chapters two and three.
The second group of potential readers are probably either thinking about adding XQuery functionality to some sort of Database Management System or design or develop applications what use such systems. For you, I think this book is an excellent primer to read before reading the XQuery specification and before you start to get your hands dirty. Chapters four through seven will give you lots of things to ponder and insight into making good decisions early.
Personally, I mostly belong in the last group of potential readers - those who are wondering what XQuery means to them in the day-to-day, hand-to-hand combat of designing and developing end user applications. Is this a book you'll probably want? I think so. The first chapter does a good job of covering just enough of the language to get you going, and chapters three, and six, seven and eight will help you understand when, where and how XQuery needs to become part of your toolkit. I think this is especially true for those of us who make heavy use of Microsoft's .NET technologies and SQL Server products. As you likely already know, the next generation of these products are very much embracing XML within the database. Chapters six and seven offer an especially good view of where we're at today and where we're likely to be within the next year-and-a-half or so. I'd especially recommend this book for you.
Some things worth noting: chapter three is especially helpful for understanding the similarities and differences between XQuery, XPath and XSLT. To really understand where XQuery fits, you must understand this interrelationship Not only does Mr. Kay do a great job explaining that, he actually makes it fun to read. Similarly, if you are eager to discover what SQL Server "Yukon" might be like, then chapter seven contributed by Microsoft's own Michael Rys definitely seems to frame a map for you. On the downside however, this book does suffer from trying to be too many things to too many people. Although well written and interesting, chapters four and five essentially provide a Rosetta Stone to reading the XQuery specifications. If you're just looking for the basics of XQuery, you can likely safely save these reading chapters for some other time and place. Finally, if you're looking for a book that simply covers how to write XQueries, you can stop after chapter one. Chances are you will want to supplement this title with another book written to a more pedagogical theme.
Summary: a fantastic book for some, a good book for many.
But the rise of XML has driven demand for XQuery, to take advantage of this structure. The book also shows how XPath is used, as part of the XQuery implementation.
Another merit of the book is its good description of the difference between XQuery and XSLT. The latter also has been getting a lot of attention from programmers. But, as explained by the authors, XSLT is mainly used on document centric data, mostly to generate HTML. By contrast, XQuery has no such restriction.
In spite of that, I can honestly say that I think this book is a very valuable guide to the emerging standard query language for XML. The insights provided by people who are actually doing the day-to-day design, and implementation in some cases, of this language are not available in any other XQuery book.
The various chapters of the book provide overviews, design precepts, detailed examples, and thorough explanations (even of subjects as arcane as the static typing rules of the language).
I enthusiastically encourage everybody interested in XQuery to add this book to their libraries.
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