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XML Resources

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XML Books


Several books on XML have found places on my book shelf over the years. Here is a brief review of those that are still in print. For comparison purposes (not necessarily for recommendation) I list the prices at Amazon.com current as of the last time I revised this page.


  • Essential XML Quick Reference - Aaron Skonnard and Martin Gudgin - Addison Wesley DevelopMentor series, 2002, 402 pages, $24.99.  This book is essential for anyone doing serious work in XML.  It provides a quick synopsis and reference to the most important W3C Recommendations.  The examples are a bit light, and there isn't any tutorial aspect about it, but that's not why you buy this book.  You buy it because you need an answer quickly, and you don't want to look up or wade through the W3C Recommendation to find it. Amazon.com has it new for $20.99, and it's cheap at that price.
  • Presenting XML - Richard Light - sams.net, 1997, 414 pages, $24.99. This was the first book on XML that I bought.  Though pretty basic (it doesn't go much beyond the XML 1.0 Recommendation), it's still a very good introduction for those who need it. Amazon.com has it new for a little over $12.
  • Mastering XML - Ann Navarro, Chuck White, Linda Burman, Sybex, 2000, 882 pages, $39.99. This one takes the encyclopedic approach to XML, trying to hit a little bit of everything. It's a bit dated by now, and a lot of the examples are a bit light. Amazon.com has it used from under $2.
  • XML for Real Programmers - Reaz Hoque, Morgan Kaufmann, 2000, 250 pages, $44.95. This one, too, is dated (amazing how fast they get that way!). However, at the time I found it one of the better references on using the DOM with Java. Amazon.com has it used from $3.


Of course, I always recommend my book Using XML with Legacy Business Applications. I must confess that it has gone out of print, but you can probably still find a copy through Amazon or another on-line seller.


I have two books on XSLT on my shelf, and they are quite different from each other.; Each has its place.  If you have the budget, buy both.

  • XSLT Quickly - Bob DuCharme, Manning, 2001, 298 pages, $29.95. This is a great book for learning XSLT.  It is easily digestible, has lots of examples, and many tips for performing different types of common transformations. It is a bit light as a reference. Amazon.com has it new for $20.97, and used from $19.44.
  • XSLT Programmer's Reference, 2nd Edition - Michael Kay, Wrox, 2003, 939 pages, $34.99.  In contrast to DuCharme's book, Kay's is not very digestible, sparse on examples, has few tips for performing different types of common transformations. On the other had, it is quite authoritative and complete as a reference, making clear parts of the XSLT Recommendation that are sometimes opaque. The examples it does have also tend to be more complex and more fully worked out than those in DuCharme's book. It also has great information on using many of the XSLT APIs.  Amazon.com has it new for $24.49, and used from $22.70.

Product Specific

I'm sure I'll be picking up a book on the Apache APIs soon, and perhaps some others. Right now the only product-specific book on my shelf is on MSXML (AKA Microsoft XML Core Services).

  • XML Application Development with MSXML 4.0 - Stephen Mohr, Steven Livingstone, Darshan Singh, Danny Ayers, Michael Corning, Wrox, 2002, 770 pages, $49.99.  This is book was a great disappointment.  I bought it to help me program with MSXML using Visual C++, and it was nearly useless.  However, if you're programming in Visual Basic you might like it a lot.  This book exhibits the tendency I've seen in other Wrox titles to pad (or as they might say, augment) the product-specific content with a lot of fairly generic content.  For example, there are chapters on Schemas, XPath, and XSLT that have very little specifically to do with MSXML.  It does, however, have some complex examples that are fairly well worked out.  Amazon.com has it new for $49.99, and used from $14.45. 
Last updated on August 12, 2003