XML Schema: Breaking the Code

When it comes to XML Schema, nothing is easy. But Eric van der Vlist's book "XML Schema" helps clear up some of the complexity.

As the famous developer said while on his deathbed, "XML is easy, XML Schema is hard". OK, so maybe it really was a famous actor speaking about acting and comedy.

The point is still the same. One of the reasons for the heavy adoption of XML is how easy it is to learn. XML is very straightforward, taking advantage of previous languages and easy readability to become the language of choice for data management on the Web.

However, when it comes to XML Schema, which is a core standard for defining structure within XML, nothing is easy. XML Schema is easily the most complex standard on the Web today. In fact, the World Wide Web Consortium released XML Schema 1.0 in three parts, including a primer, just so developers would have any chance of understanding it.

Clearly a good book is needed to cut through the complexity. And the $39.95 XML Schema, by Eric van der Vlist, comes through, providing detailed but easily understandable information on when, where and how to use XML Schema.

The book is clearly oriented toward developers and authors who already have a good understanding of XML. While the book is pretty dense and complex itself (it is about XML Schema, after all) we found it to be immediately useful.

Like most good books in this vein, it provides lots of sample codes and then goes into detail about each element of the code.

Another thing we liked is that the book is clearly not a love letter to XML Schema. Van der Vlist points out several weaknesses and limitations in XML Schema, such as its inability to clearly define distinct element types.

Besides XML Schema, the book also discusses related and forthcoming standards, such as XPath and RDF, and how they relate to building an XML Schema.

And as one would expect, there are lots and lots of reference materials covering specific strings, tags and elements within XML Schema.

  • Title: XML Schema
  • Authors: Eric van der Vlist
  • Publisher: OReilly and Associates Inc. (www.oreilly.com)
  • Length: 400 pages
  • Price: $39.95