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This book is terrific, and if you want to learn about using XML in web sites I recommend that you buy it.
XML books are, on the whole, pretty lousy. Everyone keeps talking about how XML will transform the web, but most books are thin on specifics -- exactly how XML will be used, and exactly how to make things happen. I've seen other reviews here from people who feel that this book doesn't do a good enough job of explaining those things. But I think that compared to its competition, it does an excellent job.
XML is new, and it's not in widespread use. As I write this, the only popular browser with solid XML support is IE5, and I guess that most people don't want to write sites that only work with one browser. But if you go to the XML site at msdn.microsoft.com and look at the table of contents, you'll get an idea of what XML can do, and why you'll want to learn it.
The book is well written and its a pleasure to spend time with it. The author knows as much about writing as he does about computers, and he knows a lot about computers. The explanations of XML are clear and conversational in tone. The focus is on using XML in web sites, and the book gives a lot of needed attention to XSL, the style sheet language used to format XML docments for the web. I've read other XML books, and I bought this one primarily to learn more about XSL.
The title of the book might be somewhat misleading. It is not a comprehensive guide to XML, but rather a best of breed tutorial on a very important chunk of XML stuff you'll want to learn. One reviewer pointed out that it's a poor reference book, and that's true, in a sense. There is an XML reference in an appendix, but it's an ultra-geeky BNF reference that probably won't be very helpful to most readers, especially given the book's non-programmer target audience.
A more serious problem is the book's neglect of Microsoft's XML schema technology, which is far superior, in my view, to DTDs. The word "schema" doesn't even appear in the index. And finally, this is not the book you want to buy if you want to learn how to program a java XML parsing engine. This is not a book about programming.
So why do I give this book five stars? It's fun to read and it's great at explaining XML itself, as well as a number of vital, connected technologies: XSL, DTDs, CSS, CSL, XLinks, and XPointers. I was fuzzy on XSL, XLinks, and XPointers, and this book helped me a lot. Those are exactly the things you need to know to get a XML site up and running on the web.
XML is a big, important technology, and I don't think there's a single book that covers everything you'll want to know. This book, despite the "Bible" title, doesn't try to cover everything. But what it does cover, it covers very well.