Friendly look at XML, XSL, XLL, DTDs and More

Good coverage of XML and related technologies, accessible, logical, good read, good reference, great value.


The are now several XML books on the market, each offering something different and approaching the subject from their own distinct angle. Which one you choose may depend on what you are looking for. The XML Companion does a pretty good job of living up to its name. With a straight forward, matter-of-fact approach, the information is easily unfolded with clear descriptions and good coverage of the more important issues. With pragmatic flair, each of the major elements of XML 1.0, along with emerging standards for hypertext links and style sheets are presented in a friendly, well documented sequence.

There are four major sections in this book; looking directly at the XML Specification, working with XML, related standards and reference materials. After a quick preface, outlining the structure of the book and its style conventions. Chapters 2 to 8 are a part of the XML specification coverage, ranging from an overview, talk about document markup, entities, logical structure, XLL, XSL and white space issues. The material is presented in such a way that new terms are highlighted and explained, building a solid foundation and incrementing our understanding while encouraging interest and unveiling concepts in a clear, methodical sequence.

Chapters 9 to 12 cover working with XML, which includes advanced techniques, document modeling, processing XML documents and managing document hierarchies. The related standards section includes character sets, cascading style sheets, html and sgml. These are important areas for many readers and these chapters provide perspective on XMLs relationship with other existing technologies. The book wraps up with a couple of reference chapters which cover charts and tables, and a basic road map to XML and XLL rules.

Most readers will find the style of this book accessible and logically presented. Because of its matter-of-fact style, some may find this material a little dry, but the authors do a pretty good job of laying it all out in front of us and a manner that seemed effective to me. The assumption that this book would make a good companion is especially understandable when you need to refer back to the book to refresh your memory after reading it. XML Companion is both a great way of learning about XML and related technologies, and an excellent reference book you’ll want to keep handy on your shelf.