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Professional XML

Wrox has published what looks at first glance an excelent book.

Here is a sample chapter for you to judge for yourself.

Wrox provides a forum for discussion on this book

And here is an interview with a couple of the authors.

Interview with Steven Livingstone, one of the author team from Professional XML 2nd Edition (June 2001)

1. What do you think is the major selling point of this book (or what does this book do that others don't)?

This is the latest XML book on the market. The world of XML has changed considerably over the last couple of years and this book gives insight into how XML technologies are being employed today, as well as a view to the future of XML. The authors come from a diverse set of industries and so you get a rich set of views on how XML is being used in the real world.

2. What area do you think XML isn't currently well represented in, and do you think this book helps to address that?

Although they are emerging technologies, I think the whole e-Business and Web Services integration is going to become rapidly important in the Enterprise. This book gives a good overview and understanding of the technical implementation requirements and issues, as well as some coding on how to achieve this.

3. This book describes the current W3C Recommendation for XML Schema, do you think this technology will have a large effect on XML usefulness?

I am a big fan of XML Schema. Everything should be associated with a schema to simplify issues from development to integration and maintenance. Integration is one of the keys. Even internally integration, or understanding the data, often proves to be difficult. In the Internet it doesn't get any easier. XML Schema will prove to be a big success in simplifying these areas, although I still see way too many standards and vocabulary registries out there, which will hopefully settle down as certain ones are adopted at large by user communities.

4. Which XML technology do you think it is most important for 'programmers' to become familiar with? (eg: Schemas, XSLT, etc)

Schemas are the building blocks for understanding XML as a whole. Without understanding this, you don't really know WHY you would want to use XSLT for example: why would you want to transform something? In essence, schemas define the domain of XML and although there are many directions you can go in, most will involve XML Schema in some manner.

5. In your opinion what is the most exciting XML technology, and why?

For me, Schemas is the most important. Now, the most exciting for me is probably how these become employed worldwide. As it is so easy to create a new Schema, the challenge exists in reusing and incorporating schemas from other vocabularies and applications. Why have 7 million address vocabularies when all we need is one good one? I don't ever expect to see just one, but perhaps one day a few instances of such a schema fragment will be used in millions of applications worldwide !

6. What got you into XML?

I had been fiddling about with XML for content mark-up and thought it was pretty neat. However, I always saw XML doing something more and as I got involved in XML RPC and started looking at many of the emerging XML technologies for ways to improve on what XML RPC offered. That has now expanded into many of the newer areas of XML such as RDF and the Semantic Web stuff coming out of the W3C at the moment.

Interview with Jonathan Pinnock, one of the author team from Professional XML 2nd Edition (June 2001)

1. What does this book have that the first edition didn't?

XML and XML-based technologies have moved on significantly from the first edition. In my area (web services), SOAP had only just appeared at the time of the first edition. Now, it's mainstream, and the real buzz is about things like WSDL and UDDI.

2. Who do you think are the ideal audience for this book?

XML is the one technology that you can't do without these days, and this book tells the whole story. So the ideal audience includes anyone with a practical interest in software. That's a reasonably big audience.

3. Some developers think XML is a waste of space and that SGML, or even flat file formats are much more efficient and portable. What would you say to them?

Three points: (i) Clarity is more important than space, (ii) Space is getting cheaper all the time, and (iii) If space really is a problem, XML compresses beautifully (typically to a tenth of its original size).

4. Has coding for XML applications become any easier in recent years, and do you think this book helps describe any issues that might crop up?

In my specific area, the emergence of WSDL is beginning to make cross-platform interoperability a reality, and this book takes a good look at how that is going to evolve.

5. What got you into XML?

The virtues of XML were so obvious when I saw my first presentation of it that I was hooked immediately.



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