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   RE: [xml-dev] xml, books

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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:dms@sosnoski.com]

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.


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