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Perl & XML

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2004

    Review of Perl & XML

    XML has begun to appear everywhere. XML has long served in hidden roles on servers and in configuration files. Microsoft Word 2003 for Windows now supports reading and writing XML to in it's wordprocessingML format. Unlike MS Word's horrible 'Save As Web Page' feature, wordprocessingML, or wordML for short, is a clean usable format. The adoption of XML in a user space as common as MS Word in an accessible format means that developers have a rich opportunity in XML. The book Perl and XML focuses on the where Perl and XML meet. In asking the questions 'Why Perl?', the authors Erik Ray and Jason McIntosh point to Perl's ability to handle text, strings, and regular expressions. The authors also point out in a clear and concise manner the strengths of XML as a means for structuring data. The book focuses on working with XML using Perl. Tutorials of the basics of either language are best found in another book. The author of the book recommends Learning Perl for those people starting out in Perl. The book does not assume much knowledge of XML, so it's really an XML book for Perl programmers. If you'd like a more in depth discussion of XML, you might check out Erik Ray's Learning XML. Surveying many conventional XML tools and applications, the book addresses big picture items such as tree processing and streams as well as specific items such as RSS and SOAP. Approaching XML from both a practical point of view and strategic point of view, the author provides detailed examples and observes which strategies work well for handling XML in Perl. Originally, I picked up Perl and XML to address a couple of small projects where I had to deal with XML. The examples in Perl and XML were well written and provided the information I needed to try out common Perl tools for handling XML. Unfortunately, I found that XML processing in Perl was unacceptably slow for the two projects I had at hand. In a short amount of time, I hacked together a faster solution without relying on an XML parser. That said, I gleaned a great deal from Perl and XML which I imagine I will be putting to use soon. If you're not currently working with XML, you may find yourself working sooner than you think. I couldn't more highly recommend Perl and XML for thorough treatment of the subject even if you end up hacking your own solution.

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