Even hot dog Web coders proficient in XML need a little refresher once and a while. Although some portions of XML are still very fluid, the handy XML Pocket Reference offers quick access to the syntax and usage rules of this next-generation language.
At the front of the book, a crash course in XML quickly spells out the important terminology, along with extremely short examples of XML, Document Type Definition (DTD), and Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) documents. The book also includes a nice bulleted list of cautions and rules to follow if you want to create valid XML documents. A tip section entitled, "Unlearning Bad Habits" offers handy warnings that are especially useful for those of us who occasionally slip into sloppy HTML coding behaviors that XML won't tolerate.
The remainder of the title comprises reference sections devoted to XML, DTDs, XSL, XLink, and XPointer. These sections offer a balanced mix of both straight syntax references and brief general explanations of key topics. Short examples are in abundance to illustrate usage with accompanying explanatory text. The authors are very up-front about the changing nature of the XSL, XLink, and XPointer and point out that even their freshly published material on these subjects may soon be out of date.
You won't find any big-picture look at the importance or implementation of XML in the real world. However, if you're already sold on the technology and working with it, this little guide will be a handy companion. --Stephen W Plain
Topics covered: XML overview, well-formed XML rules, using elements and attributes, syntax and usage reference to XML, DTD, XSL, XLink, XPointer.