Title : Cocoon: Building XML Applications
Author : Matthew Langham and Carsten Ziegeler
Pages : 480
Publisher : New Riders
ISBN : 0-7357-1235-2

Reviewed by : Mike Stone

In the work that I do, I'm often required to deal with XML in a wide variety of forms. I have a vague understanding of what XML is and how it acts, but now seemed like the best time to learn more about XML. Enter Cocoon: Building XML Applications.

From the start of this book, I knew it wasn't what I had originally been looking for. Rather than let that bother me, I tried to look at this as an opportunity to learn about something that I had little to no experience with. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way. The authors droned on for 2 chapters about the history of the Internet, and the machine web. The history of the Internet was more of a history of their own projects than a history of the Internet, and the machine web seemed more preaching to the choir than useful. The third chapter tells us how to install the product, and finally, in chapter 4, we get to actually using the product.

I've been patient up until now, but this is where I am expecting to find the meat of the book. They do start to get more into the product, but they only stop to explain what they're doing pages after they've already done it. Just in time for you to have forgotten what they were talking about anyway. Their examples are self justifying, and don't branch from their "Example Application".

Despite the fact that their book title actually uses the word "Applications", it would probably have been better to just say, "Application". After finishing the first 11 chapters of this book, I have a good idea how I would build one application using Cocoon, and that is the example they gave. To go any farther than that, I'd have to buy another book, or do a great deal of additional research. That's what I'm thinking I should have done in the first place.

The 12th chapter goes further into detail about what they want to do with their product in the future. While I find this enlightening, and feel that Cocoon may be something I'd like to take another look at in the future, it doesn't help me with building XML applications. A full 25% of this book has nothing to do with building XML applications with Cocoon.

Books Reviewed by members of the BozemanLUG