Weighing in at just three hundred pages, this Second Edition of Kevin Dick's XML: A Manager's Guide, is both concise and elaborate. The author painstakingly detailed the salient XML staples, while at the same time summarizing those technical aspects, which are not that important for business managers. Nicely spiced and well-blended indeed!
For the benefit of new and/or typical non-tech managers, I would introduce XML briefly before progressing with the review. The acronym, XML, stands for eXtensible Markup Language. It is the World Wide Web Consortium markup language, which enables Web developers and programmers to create a variety of customized tags. These particular tags serve to provide high levels of design flexibilities, which are impossible to obtain using the tags of the conventional HTML (i.e. Hypertext Markup Language).
Despite the rather complex underlying technologies, managers need not worry about this markup language. The frontend of it is really what is important for non-programmers. And that is what this book, (XML: A Manager's Guide), is all about. The book emphasizes what contributions XML could make in the day-to-day operations of any given company. Its contents are both logically and beautifully outlaid. Bulleted formats are used in a many instances to provide easy-to-locate pieces of information.
The patterns of the topics and subtopics are reinforced with marginal blurbs: so that managers can easily and quickly peruse the key concepts. This book is all about explaining the fundamental nature and applications of XML, (including its associated standards and tools), without cutting unnecessary corners. It is a pleasure to read.
The early chapters (of the book) are exclusively dedicated to high-level tutorials. They included several illustrative charts and figures, in addition to some code examples, which nonprogrammers would easily understand.
Having done with its introduction, the mid-section (of the book) gradually infused instructions and general principles, which should guide its reader in the successful applications of what it preaches. I really appreciate how patiently the author tackled the otherwise complex issues of real-world application. He used straightforward illustrations throughout; and expanded the discussion—so as to demonstrate the wide-reaching and the near-limitless applications of XML. In fact, five different exemplified applications for enterprises and five more for vendors are presented in miniature case studies. Anyone who cared to read will grasp how XML can be used to improve corporate issues, which relates to data integration, workflows, knowledge management, distributed protocols, and so on.
Some of the topics covered in this book are as follows:
1. XML standards background
2. Document Type Definitions
3. Schemas, XLink, XSL, and XSLT
4. Developmental tools
5. Associated standard status
6. XML application examples; and many more.
This is one book, which successfully demystified the otherwise complex XML attributes. The author employed rudimentary and easy-to-comprehend discourse throughout the book. It really would help anybody communicate like a Web developer—with the need for becoming one.
Finally, I must mention that the only quarrel I have with this book is that the author has neither revised not updated it in the last five years. E-commerce and Web technologies are continuously evolving, and books like this one need to keep up with the newest happenings. Over 90% of this book's contents are still very relevant, but it truly is overdue for revision. What I would suggest for its intending users is to visit relevant XML-affiliated websites for additional revisions and latest updates. I look forward to seeing an updated edition in the near future.
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