XML Books

Chris Maden crism at ora.com
Fri Jan 9 16:07:56 GMT 1998

[Simon North]
> That's a little unfair. I wrote much of the second part of
> Presenting XML, and all the material about SGML is still 99%
> accurate. The list of applications I talked about is 90% accurate
> and the bibliographies and WWW pointers are still 95% accurate. The
> only major change is XS instead of XS. FYI, we are working on an
> update of the book now.

It's true that it's pretty good.  It's coherent and accurate for when
it was written, and I think (as I said on c.t.s) that you did as good
a job as you could at the time.  I'm glad you have on-line errata, and
am happy to hear of an update.  I still think it was a mistake to
publish technical information so soon, and the average reader will not
be able to tell what's accurate and what's not without the Web site,
and most will accept what they read (despite Tim's notes in the

> "Dynamic Web Publishing" has a single chapter on XML; I condensed
> everything down into 22 pages, this too only covers XSL though.
> "HTML4 Unleashed, Professional Reference Edition" has five chapters
> and an appendix on XML, and there I *do* cover XS.

Interesting; I did not know that.  (Now I suppose I need to go buy
those, or at least read them over a mocha at Buns & Noodle.)

> Advertising over, I thought "XML Complete" was quite good. Not so
> much for the XML material but it does contain some very useful
> pieces of Java code (I'm not a Java programmer), and the chapters on
> Jade and DSSSL are still pretty good for entry material.

_XML Complete_ appears to be written by somone who is quite good at
Java, and has read the XML spec.  XML (the acronym) is expanded wrong
in the book (though the back cover is right).  He defines the syntax
of XML, but has no discussion of *how* to write XML - for instance,
when to use attributes vs. subelements.  He believes that a Java
applet is necessary to make any document usable.  He uses doubled
slashes in URLs (like file:////c://xml//idlocator//idlocator2.xml) in
the XML-link [sic] section so that the URLs can be handed straight to
Java without processing.  He discusses stylesheets, but introduces tag
omission at the start of the DSSSL section, since he believes Jade can
only use full SGML.  His terminology is sloppy (consistent use of
"tag" for "element").  Bad processing has mangled comment syntax into
<!- ... ->.  He includes a chapter on "XML Image Handling".  His modus
operandi in each chapter is to introduce productions from the
specification, a quick sample document that uses them, and then forty
or so pages of Java to process it.  And I don't believe that the
author posted a single time to this list to clear up any potential

If it were more accurate, this could be a good way to learn how to
process XML with Java.  It is *not* a good way to learn XML.

[Repeat disclaimer: I am also writing a book.  But I would still
rather that the competitors' information were accurate.]

<!ENTITY crism PUBLIC "-//O'Reilly//NONSGML Christopher R. Maden//EN"
"<URL>http://www.oreilly.com/people/staff/crism/ <TEL>+1.617.499.7487
<USMAIL>90 Sherman Street, Cambridge, MA 02140 USA" NDATA SGML.Geek>

xml-dev: A list for W3C XML Developers. To post, mailto:xml-dev at ic.ac.uk
Archived as: http://www.lists.ic.ac.uk/hypermail/xml-dev/
To (un)subscribe, mailto:majordomo at ic.ac.uk the following message;
(un)subscribe xml-dev
To subscribe to the digests, mailto:majordomo at ic.ac.uk the following message;
subscribe xml-dev-digest
List coordinator, Henry Rzepa (mailto:rzepa at ic.ac.uk)

More information about the Xml-dev mailing list