Är det bara jag som sitter med ett dåligt samvete över att man ännu
inte haft tid att sätta sig in i XML och XML-litteratur? Nedan får vi
lite hjälp på vägen, kanske kan det vara värdefullt för fler
listdeltagare än mig?
Fick nedanstående tips av den gode australiern Toby Burrows via en
anglosaxisk diskussionslista - han har gjort sig mödan att ta sig
igenom en stor del av XML-litteraturen och ger här lite tips. Kan vara
bra for a rainy day...
/ Mats Dahlström
Recent books: XML, SGML, and Web sites
If the number of books about it is any indication, XML - the
eXtensible Markup Language - is one of the most important recent
developments in computing. In the last twelve months, no less than 24
books on XML have been published; another 15 will be appearing in the
first half of 1999. The good news is that XML is expected to
revolutionize Web publishing. It is much more sophisticated and
flexible than HTML but less complicated than the full SGML standard.
The bad news is that there is as yet comparatively little software for
creating and viewing XML documents. XML has major implications for
computing in the humanities, but you may prefer to ignore it until the
Web browsers support it. On the other hand, if you want to anticipate
its effects and explore its implications now, here are some places to
start. Most are comparatively technical, but some are more
approachable than others.
Dr Toby Burrows
Scholars' Centre, University of Western Australia
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Flynn, Peter. Understanding SGML and XML tools: practical programs
for handling structured text. Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers,
1998. xxvi, 432 p. + 1 CD-ROM. ISBN 0-7923-8169-6 US$84.00
Flynn introduces and discusses a wide range of software applicable to
SGML and XML documents, including editors, parsers, converters, and
viewers. A selection of these programs - mostly freeware - is on the
accompanying CD-ROM. Though he also provides an introduction to SGML
and XML, Flynn's book is perhaps not the best starting-point for
complete novices. But it's a remarkably valuable and very practical
resource for the slightly more experienced user. A bonus for
humanities scholars is the inclusion of helpful material on the Text
Encoding Initiative (TEI).
Goldfarb, Charles F., and Paul Prescod. The XML handbook. Upper Saddle
River, NJ: Prentice-Hall PTR, 1998. xliv, 639 p. + 1 CD-ROM. (Charles
F. Goldfarb series on open information management) ISBN 0-13-081152-1
Goldfarb - the main force behind the development of SGML - now turns
his attention to XML. This is really two books in one: an
authoritative, if somewhat technical, exposition of the XML
specifications, and a series of case studies using specific commercial
software. The case studies, sponsored by the software companies
involved, are descriptive rather than evaluative, but they give a good
idea of the range of realistic and practical applications for XML. The
accompanying CD-ROM contains no less than 55 different pieces of free
software, as well as demonstrations from the sponsors and copies of
XML-related standards and specifications.
Harold, Elliotte Rusty. XML: Extensible Markup Language. Foster City,
CA: IDG Books, 1998. xxiii, 426 p. + 1 CD-ROM. ISBN 0-7645-3199-9
This XML guide is aimed at Web site developers, and assumes a
thorough, but fairly technical, explanation of the main features of
XML, including the use and creation of Document Type Definitions
(DTDs) and style sheets. Among the other topics covered are links and
pointers, and the Channel Definition Format (CDF). The full text of
the XML specification is included in an appendix. The accompanying
CD-ROM contains the examples from the book.
Jelliffe, Rick. The XML & SGML cookbook: recipes for structured
information. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall PTR, 1998. xxvii,
621 p. + 1 CD-ROM. (Charles F. Goldfarb series on open information
management) ISBN 0-13-614223-0 US$55.00
Document structures and patterns - as expressed in terms of SGML - are
Jelliffe's focus in this book, which is pitched at a specialized
technical level. He discusses techniques for designing and building
Document Type Definitions (DTDs), with helpful advice drawn from
practical experience. The second half of the book deals with character
sets and the representation of special characters in SGML. The
accompanying CD-ROM contains the DTDs developed in the text, as well
as various character sets and some SGML- and XML-based software.
Leventhal, Michael, David Lewis, Matthew Fuchs. Designing XML Internet
applications. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall PTR, 1998. xxxii,
582 p. + 1 CD-ROM. (Charles F. Goldfarb series on open information
management) ISBN 0-13-616822-1 US$44.95
Though this book is intended mainly for programmers with experience in
constructing dynamic Web sites, the brisk introduction to XML concepts
and tools could prove very useful for a less technical audience.
Leventhal and his colleagues focus on ways of using Perl and Java to
build XML Internet applications, with six worked examples which
include a bulletin board, a search engine, and a document conversion
tool. The explanations are clear and detailed, and the broader
architectural issues are nicely brought out. The accompanying CD-ROM
contains Java and Perl tools, as well as XML material and software.
McGrath, Sean. XML by example: building e-commerce applications. Upper
Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall PTR, 1998. xlviii, 470 p. + 1 CD-ROM.
(Charles F. Goldfarb series on open information management) ISBN
XML is expected to have a significant impact on electronic commerce.
Sean McGrath's book gives managers and developers of commercial Web
sites a detailed look at the XML specifications, including hypertext
links and formatting with style sheets. He also discusses several
current applications of XML in the area of electronic commerce, as
well as looking at the benefits and commercial advantages of using
XML. The accompanying CD-ROM contains a selection of XML-based
software, together with some sample Document Type Definitions (DTDs)
and various documents about XML.
Megginson, David. Structuring XML documents. Upper Saddle River, NJ:
Prentice-Hall PTR, 1998. xxxvii, 420 p. + 1 CD-ROM. (Charles F.
Goldfarb series on open information management) ISBN 0-13-642299-3
Document Type Definitions (DTDs) are crucial to both XML and SGML, and
provide specific markup languages for particular types of documents.
Megginson offers a detailed and exhaustive look at DTDs: how to
analyse them, how to build them or adapt existing models, and how to
link DTDs using the "architectural forms" methodology. Five DTDs are
analysed, including HTML 4.0, the Text Encoding Initiative's TEI-Lite,
and ISO 12083 - the publishing industry's DTD for books, serials, and
articles. The treatment is very thorough, but definitely for experts.
The accompanying CD-ROM includes the five DTDs, plus a selection of
Powell, Thomas A., with David L. Jones and Dominique C. Cutts. Web
site engineering: beyond Web page design. Upper Saddle River, NJ:
Prentice-Hall PTR, 1998. x, 324 p. ISBN 0-13-650920-7 US$39.95
As Web sites have grown bigger, their technical characteristics have
become more complex. Dynamic, programmed sites are replacing static
collections of HTML pages. Powell and his co-authors look at ways of
designing and engineering large Web sites, from defining the problem
and analysing requirements through to building, implementation, and
testing. With its pragmatic and realistic approach, pitched at a level
which is not too technical, this is a very valuable guide for managers
who need to make strategic decisions about Web site projects.
Simpson, John E. Just XML. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall PTR,
1998. xiv, 381 p. ISBN 0-13-943417-8 US$34.99
Simpson gives a straightforward introduction to the main features of
XML, with plenty of material on links and pointers, and styles and
stylesheets. Document Type Definitions (DTDs) are also covered quite
fully. XML-related software is listed and discussed. An entertaining
example runs through the book: using XML to describe and catalogue "B"
movies. This is a clearly written guide to the basics of XML, which is
not overly technical in approach. But the wider context is not
covered: current and future applications of XML are not examined in
any detail, and there is little attempt to relate it to HTML or SGML.
St. Laurent, Simon. XML: a primer. Foster City, CA.: MIS:Press, 1998.
xix, 348 p. ISBN 1-5582-8592-X US$24.99
St. Laurent's introduction to XML is aimed at people with substantial
experience in using HTML and developing Web sites. Though there is a
succinct explanation of XML's main features - particularly Document
Type Definitions (DTDs) - the main focus is on potential applications
for XML, and on its relationship to existing tools like HTML and
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Especially interesting are the author's
comments on the likely effects of XML on Web browser software and the
architecture of Web sites.
Tittel, Ed, Norbert Mikula & Ramesh Chandak. XML for dummies. Foster
City, CA: IDG Books, 1998. xxviii, 377 p. + 1 CD-ROM. ISBN
This is one of the best guides to XML for non-technical people. Tittel
and his co-authors provide a lively and clear account of the main
features of XML, as well as a good explanation of its value and its
relationship to SGML and HTML. There is also an extensive look at the
ways in which XML is already being applied in various disciplines. All
this is presented in the familiar "Dummies" style, with easy-to-read
layouts and plenty of graphics. The accompanying CD-ROM contains the
text of the book and examples from it, together with a range of free
and evaluation software tools for XML.
Vinf, Danny R. SGML at work. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall
PTR, 1998. xvi, 845 p. + 1 CD-ROM. ISBN 0-13-636572-8 US$55.00
Vinf covers the major stages of a publishing process based on SGML
documents: developing a Document Type Definition (DTD), converting
non-SGML ("legacy") documents, constructing and editing SGML
documents, delivering documents in printed or on-line form, and
managing documents. Each section is closely linked to the use of
specific software, with worked examples. Technical knowledge and
familiarity with SGML are assumed. The accompanying CD-ROM contains a
variety of free and shareware software tools, and sample documents for
use with commercial programs.
Mats Dahlstroem / Lecturer, Doctoral Student
University College of Boras, Sweden
Dept of Library and Info. Science
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+46 (0)33-164421, Fax: (0)33-164005
Co-director of ITH: Information Technology
Studies as a Human Science
"Modern reading (...) is an activity performed by
commuters or tourists; it is no longer that of
pedestrians and pilgrims. The speed of the car and
the dullness of the road and the distraction of
billboards put the driver into a state of sensory
deprivation that continues when he hurries through
manuals and journals once he arrives at his desk.
Like the tourist equipped with a camera, so today's
student reaches for the photocopy to keep a