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They all try to teach XML. The user is trying to solve
common and corner case tasks. There is a fellow down the
hall trying to create a delimited file from an XML file.
It should be simple but given the data also had to be
restacked and XSLT doesn't do what the average procedural
programmer expects with regards to flow of control, he
struggled. He had a massive XSLT book written by one
of the authors on XML-Dev, but couldn't get the answer
out of the dead trees. I told him to look at 'modes'
and he managed it an hour later. XML is easy until it
isn't. I am often surprised at the mess a competent
programmer can make with it because they take the
simplification stories too literally and don't actually
read the specification. It is like using
Tufte for visualization and expecting easy results.
Simple is hard until the basics are completely mastered.
But I agree that the main reason is the WWW itself and
all of the freeeeeee information. Technical books are
following the music industry down the tubes, so maybe
slashing costs and suing a few sites will help.
As for application books, some of the initial attempts
at creating application languages by committee need
to die off and be replaced by schemas designed by
the leaders in the industry that sell products.
I'm not talking about XML Schema because I don't find
it that hard, but the languages that are built by
referencing half a dozen other standards which even
if official, aren't that germane to pointy bits on the wire.
The 'self-selected standards committee' syndrome is
killing off XML. Fewer consultants; more domain experts.
No liaisons until value is proven by example and is
obvious to even a casual observer.
From: Dennis Sosnoski [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
I don't know how the individual Web service books are faring, but I'd
suspect that those which focus on implementing solutions using a
particular technology are doing better than the "architecture" books
that seem so common.