On October 23, 2000, Peachpit Press published my latest book: XML
for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide, with ISBN 0-201-71098-6.
XML is an exciting new technology that lets you precisely label
information so that you can reuse and access that information in
other situations. It's a bit like a universal database format--like
with HTML, any text editor on any platform can read an XML file.
XML reminds me of a high-level strategy game, like chess or go:
it has very simple rules that can be combined in an almost unlimited
number of ways in order to solve very complicated problems. XML
is not very useful on its own, however. To take full advantage of
its power, you have to combine it with its core partner technologies:
XML Schema, DTDs, XSLT and XPath, CSS, XLink, and XPointer, all
of which are described in detail in my book.
the content of a Web page by enclosing pieces and sections of it
in tags like <p> or <b>. There is a predefined list
of these tags and browsers treat them in a particular way. (For
more information, check out my bestselling book on HTML.)
While the basic look of XML is very similar to HTML--with parts
of a page enclosed in tags--XML actually has no predefined tags.
Instead, it defines a set of syntax and grammar rules and then lets
you create your own tags that can better identify the information
the page contains. So if you're creating a document about endangered
species, you might have tags like <animal> and <population>.
By labeling your data with such specific names, you make it possible
for a person (or more likely a computer) to extract information
from the XML page and then reuse it someplace else. (Imagine trying
to get anything out of an HTML page just by looking at <p>
or <table> tags.) And that's the beauty of XML.
XML for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide has six
separate sections: XML, DTDs, XML Schema and Namespaces, XSLT and
XPath, CSS, and XLink and XPointer.
The XML section describes how to write XML itself, including the
syntax and grammar. The section on DTDs explains how to limit and
define the tags you've created.
The third section, XML Schema and Namespaces, describes the recently
updated (as of September 22, 2000) and much more powerful schema
system for defining XML elements, developed by the W3C.
The section on XSLT is perhaps the most interesting, as it explains
how to massage and transform the data in an XML document into practically
any form you need. The CSS section explains how to format your XML
data, once it's in the form you like.
Finally, the information in the last section, on XLink and XPointer,
give an idea of how links and images will be supported in XML, once
browsers recognize them.
XML for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide has two
companion Web sites. The first is at Peachpit Press' site.
It contains the Table of Contents, all the Source code and Examples,
an excerpt of one of the chapters, and more.
And you've already found the second companion Web site. It's right
here at Cookwood Press. It's here where you'll find all of the example
files, as well as the Table of Contents
and Index, an Errata
page (hopefully short), and much more.
Each XML topic is explained with short, clear, step-by-step instructions
accompanied by two-color illustrations so you can see exactly what
to do and what it will look like when you've done it. You'll never
have to wade through pages and pages of filler.
Can't remember how to use an XSLT function or XML Schema command?
Just look it up in the complete index,
jump to the page and you're done. XML for the World Wide Web:
Visual QuickStart Guide makes a great reference book even after
you're familiar with the basic concepts.
XML for the World Wide Web:Visual QuickStart Guide only costs
$19.99. You won't find another book that gets you understanding
XML for less.
Hundreds of thousands of readers have learned to write HTML with
the help of my bestselling HTML 4 for the World Wide Web: Visual
QuickStart Guide. Many thousands of others have used my Perl/CGI
book to finally break through into the world of programming. Check
out what these readers
said, or look at the pages
that some of them have created. I have used the same direct, clear,
but informal style with the XML book. I think you'll find it very