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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
Java and XML
Author:
Paul Whithead et al
ISBN:
0 7645 3683 4
Publisher:
Wiley
Pages:
309 pages+CD
Price:
£20-99
Reviewer:
Silvia de Beer
Subject:
java; xml
Appeared in:
16-4
The book uses a special visual layout. All sections are laid out on two opposite pages. The lower half of the pages is used for the screenshots. However, the topic of this book is not very well suited for screenshots: mainly Notepad editors and Command Prompt windows. The screenshots show the example code, and the output of the example Java programs. The examples are showing the use of the various APIs and the concepts explained in the upper half of the pages.

Up until page 65, I considered throwing this book into the bin, if I did not have to write a review: a very poor book. It explains the Java language in a very poor way. I consider this introduction a waste of time because if you do not know Java, you would not be able to learn to program in Java from it. The book even tries to introduce a few OO concepts, it tries to explain what a class is, but on the other hand, it does not even mention the concept of an interface. The introductions on Java and XML contain too many statements that are very debatable or incorrect. After page 65, which explains XML, the book is a bit more useful, but not complete enough. It covers a little bit of XML, DTD, the SAX API, DOM, JDOM, JAXP and even less of Schemas. The appendixes, references on Java and XML, from page 276 onwards are useless, as they are very incomplete. The book fails because it is incomplete.

It almost seems like the authors are themselves beginners and have not really programmed in Java. They talk about copying the various

.jar
files into the Java sdk installation path, to avoid setting a classpath. The book also advises to use the set command in the file
autoexec.bat
to set a classpath. I wonder which operating system they are using! The only value of the book is the CD, which contains the Java SDK and the Xerces parser. Of little value of course, because this is all open source, but handy if you want to avoid downloading them yourself.