Book Review - XML Demystified by Jim Keogh and Ken Davidson
It's tempting to ask what's the big deal about XML. Just make up some tags and off you go! Unfortunately, once you start getting into DTDs, XLink, XPath, and a variety of other X-things, it gets much more complex and confusing. If you want to start understanding the world of XML, start off with XML Demystified by Jim Keogh and Ken Davidson.
Contents: XML - An Inside Look; Creating an XML Document; Document Type Definitions; XML Schema; XLink, XPath, XPointer; XSLT; XML Parsers and Transformations; Really Simple Syndication (RSS); XQuery; MSXML; Final Exam; Answers to Quizzes and Final Exam; Index
At 221 pages, this is not an authoritative reference for everything involving XML. And that's a *good* thing. Keogh and Davidson zero in on the basics of each of the XML technologies, and they do a wonderful job of explaining things in terms any developer can understand. Rather than try and explain every option and nuance of a command or feature, they tell you what it does, how it works, and they show an example. If you work through the material as they present it, you'll end up with a solid understanding of the 90% of XML that you'll use on a regular basis. The other 10% is where you'll head off to buy the 1000 page reference manual to look up that arcane parameter that your co-worker used just because they read about it before you did... :)
I personally was impressed at how they were able to clearly present XSLT in a way that made it obvious. Same with XLink and XPath... I've read the large books and walked away somewhat more confused than when I started. XML Demystified could easily be the starting point for many XML beginners, and I'm pretty sure that you'll end up with the results you were after...