This book's cover is subtitled 'Also Covers Tcl, Rebol, Ruby and Applescript' - an awful lot for a single volume. When I received it I wondered at first if this was a good choice to ask to review, because although I have used perl and toyed with Python and Rebol, my main interest in it was to find out more about XML, its processing and its uses. However, because I have a lot of experience using a range of scripting languages I decided that the lack of in-depth knowledge of all these languages wasn't too much of a barrier.
In fact some 250 pages are devoted to Perl, Python and PHP, with 58 pages covering the other 4 languages. The coverage of the latter four being, necessarily, short. There's an introduction to XML (56 pages) for those new to this mark-up language. I am reasonably familiar with mark-up languages so I just skimmed this introduction although I did notice a few minor errors.
I liked the way the book showed how to use SOAP (for the major languages) and XML-RPC (for all languages in the book). For some of the languages there are other XML usage examples, such as how to handle UNICODE.
The largest section of the book concentrates on python with many examples. Almost as long is the section on perl, with that on PHP occupying about half that of python. In each case there are code examples embedded in the text in a readable way. In a few examples I found the layout style slightly irritating, but this did not generally prevent me from understanding the points being made.
There are two appendices; the first discusses some UNICODE issues, while the second provides a number of references for further information.
I would recommend this book to anyone needing to use XML with a scripting language such as perl, python or PHP, but if you are using the other languages discussed you will need to do some more research using the second appendix as a starting point.