REVIEW - XML in a Nutshell - A Desktop Quick Reference


XML in a Nutshell

A Desktop Quick Reference


Elliotte Rusty Harold, W. Scott Means


O'Reilly (2002)




Huw Lloyd


February 2003



From the outset, this book gives XML centre stage. The scope is clearly delineated and supported by a comprehensive narration of the core XML technologies.

This book helps the reader make sense of a bewildering plethora of XML vocabulary. It depicts the various orthogonal aspects of XML across easily managed chapters. The strengths and weaknesses of technologies are often discussed along with consideration of future and on going requirements for developers.

This book purports to be a reference and readers accustomed to other O'Reilly 'Nutshell' books might be surprised at the degree of verbosity the text offers. Half of the book is an introductory description to the core XML technologies and even the reference section is descriptive. That said the descriptions are usually apt and useful, although I felt a concise author may have brought more clarity to some of the difficult areas of XML, for example, the namespace and DTD chapters were rather muted and lacking in direction.

The reference section is mostly descriptive, it is concise and reads well, perhaps better than corresponding sections of the introduction. The use of production rules and diagrams to depict language constructs in the reference section were particularly helpful.

I would have liked to see some tables of incompatible technology, e.g., browsers and what they support and perhaps less repetition in the introductory sections. For a second edition, the text could certainly have been more concise. Overall this is a reasonable book that should prove useful.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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