overview of XML concepts and applications
Learning XML is for anyone who wants to understand what XML is and how to use it. Erik Ray shows how to employ the appropriate structure and format to demystify the process of creating XML documents. XML is relatively simple (but very rigorous) set of tags which describe the content of documents. The problem is that you still need to learn Cascading Style Sheets in order to control the appearance of text on the page. Ray covers all that, as well as the other important technologies – such as the Document Type Definition. He also shows how style sheets can be used to format documents – though in a rather abstract manner.
One or two illustrations would have been useful here. He also explains the principles of Transformation, using XSLT, which allow you to convert an XML document from one form into another. He explains very persuasively why XML is superior to HTML for preparing documents for multi-purpose use. There is also an introduction to the use of XLink and XPointer, which can create bi-directional links between data. These are extremely powerful technologies which will make the next steps in XML programming an exciting prospect for those who want to pass beyond the frustrating limitations of HTML.
This is a book which is suitable for readers who already know some HTML, but who want to know what is coming next. And it’s an overview: the finer details of XML language will have to be acquired elsewhere. It is written in a persuasive and authoritative manner. This is somebody who knows what is going on in the latest phase of Web development.
© Roy Johnson 2003
Erik T. Ray, Learning XML, Sebastopol (CA): O’Reilly, 2nd edition 2003, pp.432, ISBN: 0596004206