XML and Web Services Unleashed
||Author: Ron Schmelzer, Travis Vandersypen, Jason Bloomberg, Madhu Siddalingaiah, Sam Hunting|
List Price: $49.99
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Publisher: SAMS (25 February, 2002)
Sales Rank: 195,300
Average Customer Rating: 3.8 out of 5
Customer ReviewsRating: 4 out of 5
Solid reference book but misleading title
In the world of computer publishing, two brands stand out when you're talking compendiums. Wrox's big red Professional series and SAMS Unleashed in their now familiar orange. Usually hit and miss affairs, 90% of the people who buy this type of book need to dip in and out of it for bits of information. However it's often the case that the quality of the text across its entire length varies quite a bit. Happily, XML and Web Services Unleashed doesn't suffer from this, with its nine author crew well edited to form a unison chorus rather than a disjointed set of voices as can sometimes be the case.
Its four sections cover most of the current undertakings in XML as well as laying a solid reference for newcomers and those who need a quick refresher. Part 1 sets the scene, covering XML and its immediate counterparts, DTDs and Schemas. We also find its search and link associates XPath, XLink and XPointer covered precisely and well in the following chapter. The approach is pretty standard but written well and information is easy to locate.
The main part of the book is devoted to building XML-based Applications in Java should the need for non-XML code arise. Logically, this section starts by dealing with XML documents on their own and then how to marry XML into your own applications. The SAX and DOM APIs are covered, but for .NET users, the XML Streaming API is missing. XSL coverage is good but short, covering both XSLT and XSL-FO in 60 pages. Examples of their use continue to appear for several more chapters, but would it have been too much to turn this one chapter into two? Arguably the most important chapter in the section - Integrating XML with Databases - takes a very practical view but again is Java only. .NET users need to wait another seven chapters before a section on ADO.NET can be found hidden in the chapter on XML in Visual Studio .NET
Skipping past chapters on SVG, XHTML and Content Management, we come to the highlight of the book - three chapters on web services. However, rather than teach us how to build them, the authors have elected to show us how they work, justifying first the architecture of the web services platform and then how SOAP, WSDL and UDDI tie into that structure. It's a great read and brimming with useful information, but best of all is that it gets you, as a programmer, thinking outside of the box.
Indeed, Section 3 is all about giving you a better appreciation of how XML works and can be applied in today's industries. It covers some of the standards used in the vertical markets of today and how those standards are submitted and ratified, looking in detail at XML in E-Business. Reading this section sequentially, you really do get an appreciation of the scope and size of the efforts being made by XML developers across the world. Finally, Section 4 looks at the nascent efforts of the semantic web community, the justification for their existence and what they have managed so far.
I said earlier that the editing of this book was good, but if there is a flaw, it's the choice of what to cover in the book. This particular tome tries to cover the past and the future of XML in addition to its present without fully covering any of the three. It also leans towards Java users - .NET and COM heads beware. Beyond the programming chapters though, this is as thorough an expose of XML in its many guises as you're likely to find and it's a good one too. But don't forget to check the table of contents before you buy it.This is XML Unleashed, not XML and Web Services Unleashed. A classic case of marketing misinformation, if ever there was one.
Rating: 2 out of 5
Poorly written means hard to read
Just about any other book on the subject would have to better than this book. The poor writing turns simple concepts into puzzles. Although I was deeply interested in the subject matter, this book read like a college text book on a subject I was forced to take. I liked the concise code examples, but then I would cringe at the author's explanation of the code. Also to be fair, some portions of the book are actually written clearly. It is very evident that the book was put together by more than one person. Some of the good sections are quite interesting; while other sections are quite comical in a grammatical sense. Furthermore, as a science student, my English is not great. Therefore, it takes a real disaster for me to notice the writing quality.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Not that bad
Not a bad book. Especially if you want to learn some tricks to make for bigger size. For example, chapter 4 XML Schemas consists of 61 pages. 17 of them are REDUNDUND repetitions (I do not count here those that make sense) of the same schema and xml source file. The schema, about 3 pages, placed in the beginning of the chapter. Than they change an attribute in one element and "illustrate" this repeating all 3 pages.
Systematically an element that with no problem fits in one row spans, nevertheless, two.
There are some other useful tricks. Find yourself. It's not a bad book.
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