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Customer Review

on 18 November 2005
I borrowed this book off a friend from work with the view it was using XML with Java, which of course it covers very well, I felt that it seriously downplayed that it also covered Web publishing frameworks, RPC's, SOAP, Webservices, Content syndication and Data Binding.
Maybe I would have stumbled across this book if the title hinted it covered 'distributed' or 'web services'.
I've not used much 'distributed' code before, but when I found out about the XML-RPC I was gobsmacked how easy it was. Then gently you're introduced into the realm of SOAP and webservices and realise what all the hype is about.
Now I've only reached chapter 12 (SOAP), but felt I had to write a review after reading one of the reviews that slated the book with only two stars.
The 'Web Publishing Framework' chapter I felt needing more of a polish, I got to the end with too many questions buzzing around my head, all the other chapters left me thinking 'Yep, I understand now'.
Here's my view of his comments, from my perspective..
"To find out what SAX and DOM are you have to wade through lots of inconsequential information, only to discover that SAX allows you to parse an XML document on the fly, but doesn't retain it in memory; whereas DOM keeps the document in memory and allows you to manipulate it. Big deal. I could have worked this out by doing some Google searches."
Well, you can find out anything using an internet search and most people would not be too sure when to use SAX versus DOM and the book does explain this in detail. I wouldn't say the chapter has any inconsequential information in it, it's the first book where I've felt the author pitches it right.
"I was surprised to see that the first example on SAX actually includes a JTree, even though McLaughlin says to ignore it, it is typical of the book to include something irrelevant."
I disagree, the JTree code is HCI specific and not a concern to explaining how SAX works, but rather than a dull console output you can see a 'real world' example of handling SAX - displaying it to the user. If you need to understand the JTree then that's obviously better covered in a Java Swing book! I congratulate the author on knowing where to draw the line.
"What he doesn't say is that the JTree code is really there to make the example longer, so that there are more pages in the book, and so justifies a higher price. You're not going to spend 45 dollars on a weedly little manual, are you? You want something chunky."
Ok, so his argument is that the 493 page document is say '2' pages bigger because of some HCI code which aids the user in visualising how the SAX reader does its job!? I'm sure the reviewer must be thinking there's more issues throughout the document?
"Don't get me wrong, I don't enjoy dry, academic journals but at the same time I just wish they would get to the point quicker."
Quicker = Google!
Get the book, my only last point is that I've got edition 2 and it needs updating.. Amazon's photo implies the book is still at edition 2. Do not get put off by the one negative feedback on here!
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