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Terra Firma in an Ever-Changing XML Landscape: O'Reilly Updates "XML in a Nutshell"

July 1, 2002

Sebastopol, CA--So rapidly evolving is the world of XML that it shifted from its position as a new technology to an established technology while many people were still trying to understand just what it was. "XML has become the lingua franca of data formats," says Elliotte Rusty Harold, coauthor with W. Scott Means of the just-released second edition of "XML in a Nutshell" (O'Reilly, US $39.95). "While there are still many non-XML legacy applications out there, most new applications are choosing to use XML as their native data format. Sun's StarOffice 6.0 is just one public example, but there's even more work going on in the non-shrink-wrapped, custom business software in enterprises of all sizes."

XML, the Extensible Markup Language, is a W3C-endorsed standard for document markup. It defines a generic syntax used to mark up data with simple, human-readable tags, and it provides a standard format for computer documents. Because of its flexibility, XML has become the syntax of choice for newly designed document formats across almost all computer applications. As Harold and Means tell us, "XML is simply the most robust, reliable, and flexible document syntax ever invented."

The new edition of "XML in a Nutshell" provides developers with a comprehensive guide to all aspects of XML, from the most basic syntax rules, to the details of DTD and schema creation, to the APIs used to read and write XML documents in a variety of programming languages. With updated sections on standards still in development, and extra coverage of Unicode, the book provides an easy-to-use reference to the fundamental rules to which all XML documents and authors must adhere.

"XML in a Nutshell, Second Edition" helps readers quickly develop an understanding of well-formed XML, namespaces, Unicode and W3C XML Schema. The authors tackle the key technologies used mainly for narrative XML documents, such as web pages, books, and articles, offering readers a working knowledge of XSLT, Xpath, XLink, XPointer, CSS, and XSL-FO. The book also covers the technologies use for building data-intensive XML applications and for processing XML documents of any kind. The core of the book, as with any "Nutshell" book, is the quick-reference guide that details syntax rules and usage examples for key XML technologies.

This book is an essential guide for developers who need to create XML-based file formats and data structures for use in XML documents. As Harold says: "'XML in a Nutshell' is the best introduction to XML out there. Very few XML books even attempt to cover this much material. It is the most concentrated, cost-effective way to educate yourself about XML."

What the critics said about the first edition:

"Best of 2001: Customers' Picks," amazon.com

"This book is the one you won't want to let out of your sight." --IT Training, August, 2001

"A solid and useful reference for XML developers. The value of 'XML in a Nutshell' should be readily apparent to XML developers. The material is well organized and concise. It's a quintessential Nutshell book, upholding a tradition of utility and quality. Readers who've already been exposed to the presented material will likely keep this book close at hand."--chromatic, slashdot.com, September 13, 2001

"These ('Learning XML' and 'XML in a Nutshell') are the most accessible books on XML that I have come across and I would certainly use 'Learning XML' as a recommended text for any course on it that I gave. If you work with XML, or are going to, then you probably ought to have both these books"--Lindsay Marshall, news@UK, June 2001

"Not just a reference...a remarkable comprehensive book. Harold and Means' book offers two advantages over the others: It's clearer than previous books...and it's the most recent, and hence up-to-date book currently on the market."--Eugene Eric Kim, Web Techniques, July 2001

"If you're using XML on a regular basis, then you should have this reference book on your desk. There is a lot to know about XML, but with this excellent reference manual, you don't have to know it, just where to look it up. Once you're comfortable with XML, you will want this book as part of your library."--Jennifer Kyrnin, Focus on HTML/XML

Additional resources:

Chapter 9, "XPath," is available free online at: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/xmlnut2/chapter/index.html

For more information about the book, including Table of Contents, index, author bios, and samples, see: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/xmlnut2/

For a cover graphic in jpeg format, go to: ftp://ftp.ora.com/pub/graphics/book_covers/hi-res/0596002920.jpg

XML in a Nutshell, Second Edition
By Elliotte Rusty Harold & W. Scott Means
ISBN 0-596-00292-0, 613 pages, $39.95 (US), $61.95 (CAN)

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