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From Alex McLintock <ale...@yahoo.com>
Subject Book Review - Java and XML mentions Apache
Date Tue, 16 Oct 2001 12:44:21 GMT
Hi folks, 

Here is a book review I wrote about the recent book by Wrox Press titled
"Java and XML". It mentions Apache a lot so I thought you may like to read 
my review here.

If you feel it is innappropriate material for this list then feel free to 
email me and I wont do it again. Likewise if you have any positive or
constructive criticism of my review please give me feedback.

(I wont cross post to general@Jakarta.apache.org since I bet most of the readers
there read this too)

My basic summary is that if you absolutely need a printout of the Xerces / Xalan
API then this might be useful.


"Java XML from WROX 
review by Alex McLintock 
ISBN 1 861005-20-2 
First Published July 2001 

This book is a reference work for Java programmers who wish to use one or more of the many
new XML
tools available. This presents me instantly with two main problems. As a reference work it
is very
difficult to review without using the book in real work for several months. The second big
is that the book is split up into different chapters for different software producer's tools.
instance if I were using the Oracle XML tools it would be extremely unlikely that I would
also be
using the Apache tools. Of course you are unlikely to be using the Oracle tools unless you
bought Oracle. 

Near the beginning is a fairly extensive reference work describing the SAX and DOM interfaces
reading XML files as event streams, or document trees. There are examples but this doesn't
work as a tutorial. I would expect that if you had no idea what a SAX parser was then you
have a bit of trouble, 

There is a chapter on JAXP1.1 . This is a bit new to me and something which I need to look
some more. JAXP1.1 is described as a standardised superset of DOM and SAX. That isn't much
use if
you are happy using SAX or DOM, but the idea of componentizing the xml parser is a good one.
However the real interesting thing for me is TrAX which is an api for transforming XML. XSLT
all very well and good, but it is too difficult to understand and write properly, and too

Chapter Six is about JDOM. Funnily enough this is the chapter I expect to be the most useful.
Whereas DOM is good for parsing a whole XML document into a Java tree, JDOM is good for producing
XML trees from within Java. Due to the beta nature of the API the editors have decided to
include JDOM Examples. Excellent. 

Chapter 8 looks at some of the Apache XML tools - some being the operative word. Sure we have
Xerces parser, and Xalan for doing XSLT stylesheet translation, and the SOAP but there is
only a
cursory look at FOP (for producing PDF or other page outputs), or Batik for SVG. 

The IBM Web Services chapter is all about their SOAP system for providing software services
through a web type interface. I see it as a kind of Uber-Corba which provides a (hopefully)
simpler way of interprocess communication across diverse networks. It also demonstrates how
Source software can work well within a commercial corporation because the webservices toolkit
includes Apache SOAP. Interestingly there is some discussion of IBM's open source UDDI4J being
moved under the Apache umbrella. This seems to be quite popular so perhaps I should be looking
more into it. 

I was very intrigued by Chapter 11 which looks at low footprint xml tools for use on internet
appliances, PDAs, and other environments with limited memory, or other limitations. You might
interested in this chapter if you are writing applets for instance. 

If it seems like I am skimming over chapters 12 to 16 that is true. They are written by one
(except for lucky 13) and follow one example through different stages of a big project:
Configuration (Ch12), Storing and Retrieving XML (Ch 14), Transmitting XML (Ch 15), Transforming
and Presenting XML (Ch 16). I don't really know how useful this will be though. It uses particular
tools, and like an example, doesn't explore all possible choices. 

Overall, an interesting reference work for people who need to manipulate XML in Java, but
if you
like using the online manuals then you may wish to save your money. 


PLUG: Warning.

The following is a bit of self publicity

the above review and others comes from my website http://news.diversebooks.com/

Alex McLintock        alex@OWAL.co.uk    Open Source Consultancy in London
OpenWeb Analysts Ltd, http://www.OWAL.co.uk/ 
SF and Computing Book News and Reviews: http://news.diversebooks.com/
Get Your XML T-Shirt <t-shirt/> at http://www.inversity.co.uk/
COMPETITION : http://news.diversebooks.com/article.pl?sid=01/10/08/1947255

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