Sunday, May 26, 2002

More XML Resources. It's one thing to have a book of spcifications, such as the one cited in my last entry, but such books are more useful as references than as learning tools for mastering the underlying technology. One of the best collections of XML resources is The Definitive XML Professional Toolkit. This boxed set contains three books that have been published in December 2001 and represent the essentials for anyone who is working with XML and web services. The books are:
  1. Charles F. Goldfarb's XML Handbook (4th Edition) by Charles F. Goldfarb and Paul Prescod. Goldfarb invented SGML, upon which XML is based and which had a significant influence on the design of HTML. At 1200 pages this book is probably one of the most complete references that one can have. It covers every conceivable topic, ranging from a good description of XML and how it evolved from SGML, to semantic web and web services (each of which are disciplines onto themselves).

    Expected topics are given in-depth treatment (XML, schemas, DTDs, datatypes, XSLT, XSL-FO, XLink, XPath, XPointer, XSDL, namespaces, topic maps, RDF, SOAP, UDDI, WSDL and VoiceXML), with a focus on the following:

    • integration of XML and the older EDI approaches to e-commerce and extended supply chain systems
    • a sound approach to content management - how XML fits into the web services framework
    • chapters on important topics such as portals, databases, content acquisition, conversion and publishing
    • a series of chapters devoted to tutorials on XML basics, schemas, and transformation and navigation protocols
    In addition this book comes with two CD ROMs that are packed with applications such as IBM's AlphaWorks suite and NeoCore XMS Native XML Database (Personal Edition). A trial version of TurboXML IDE & Schema Editor is also included among the 175 programs on the CD ROM set.

    This is an overwhelming book for beginners, but is a valuable resource for anyone who is deeply involved in web services, XML and related technologies. If you fit the latter category this is probably the only XML reference you'll need.

  2. Definitive XML Schema by Priscilla Walmsley. In a nutshell this book gives a detailed description of the XML schema and associated topics. The author is a member of the W3C working group that created XML Schema, and the material in this book is consistent with W3C recommendations. See the editorial description and reviews on this book's product page for specifics.
  3. Definitive XSLT and XPath by G. Ken Holman. Covers everything you need to know about transforming information structured vocabularies and output formats. The author is the chair of OASIS's XSLT/XPath Conformance Technical Subcommittee. See the editorial description and reviews on this book's product page for specifics.
What's not included in this set, but worth getting is Definitive XML Application Development by Lars Marius Garshol. However, the books that do come this this boxed set will provide you with a solid foundation of the basics as well as software tools that you can evaluate as candidates for your own development environment.

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