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Search in Book Reviews

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:
Teach Yourself XML in 24 Hours
Author:
Charle Ashbacher
ISBN:
0 672 31950 0
Publisher:
Sams
Pages:
438pp
Price:
£17-99
Reviewer:
Huw Lloyd
Subject:
xml
Appeared in:
14-3
The book's pace is aimed at beginner programmers. As befits a 'learning' book, every chapter ends with a questions and answers section.

The assumptions concerning the reader are weak. Despite the clear title, the true technical scope of the book is not made clear; the vast majority of the listings are HTML javascript used to interact with XML files. The structure is a progression of exercises towards a toy web based xml database. It does not refer to any conceptual structure within XML, furthermore, it fails to provide any referential leverage on programming or databases, with the exception of OO programming which is described in two paragraphs without recognition of class type or inheritance.

The book reflects poor editing. The index is poor. Half of the book's content is program listings, much of which is repeated with minor changes or filled with example data. The figures are tiny, with even smaller text. Warning boxes are adopted as a means for displaying output. The text within these boxes is dense syntax displayed at 16 lines per inch on the page. Some screen displays are truncated. References occasionally have the wrong chapter numbers. The prose is repetitive, for example, we are encouraged to decouple our files in every other chapter of the book.

Overall, the book failed to impress upon me what can (and cannot) be achieved with XML; the toy examples are the only inspiration provided. I don't recommend this book.