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Question to Ajit and guys who are almost there

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hi all,
Started off with the "Inside XML" and "Java and XML" book after reading ofcourse the "famous" post. Had a look at the xml cert requirements too.
I just have a question for those who are certified and to those who are almost there, did u people use XML at work before getting certified.
I'm finding the "transforming XML" pretty difficult / not sure about others.
I have been working on Java for about 8 months and am sun certified programmer + developer but am finding XML (esp XSLT) tough
i'm finding it difficult to relate to practical applications / probably i need to be patient enough to come across such examples in these books. Any encouraging thoughts ?? but i want to take the exam.
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XML is so new, it is quite hard to find books that has realistic examples and/or projects. If it offers you any comfort, I was not using XML at work when I got certified. However, after getting certified I was able to better convince my manager to consider XML for all future projects and he agreed
One way to get a headstart in using XML is to revisit all of your old projects( typically the data-intensive ones ) and see if you can use XML for adhoc data representations.
I really think the XML technology has two parallel discipline you can specialize in. One ofcourse leverages on the XML transformations and focuses more presentation aspect of XML data. The other deals with using XML with existing applications -generating XML documents on the fly, parsing etc. So don't get disheartened if you're not able to completely understand the XSLT part of it. The idea here is to be "familiar" with various XML technologies and components. As these standards mature, more and more convenience packages like JAXP, JDOM, data binding frameworks etc will emerge that will make your job a lot easier.
Good luck,

Ajith Kallambella M.
Sun Certified Programmer for the Java�2 Platform.
IBM Certified Developer - XML and Related Technologies, V1.
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Regarding XSLT difficulties.
Karthik, you are not the only person who found XSLT difficult to understand.
This quote is from Rescuing XSLT from Niche Status. A Gentle Introduction to XSLT through HTML Templates :
�As a programmer with more than 20 years experience with over a dozen languages, XSLT templates and default rules were not obvious to me. Over the past year or two I had looked at numerous examples trying to discern how they worked. While I could understand the general gist of what was occurring, there was too much implied behavior that I did not pick up. It was not until going through formal XSLT training that I fully understood how XSLT worked. Clearly if the barrier to entry is that high for a heavily experienced programmer, the average web developer is not going to find this technology very useful.�
The Problem
I thought why is XSLT difficult and found two main reasons:
1) XSL language is declarative, while most programmers work with imperative langiuages and, therefore, have to change all their mental framework.
And even if you have experience with declarative languages (like SQL or HTML), XSLT still can be difficult because it employ such concepts as �data driven� vs. �logic driven� control, which are (in my possible wrong opinion) absent in other declarative languages.
2) XSLT is seldom explained well. Most of books and articles I read simply follow W3C specifications and describe one XSLT element after another and one its parameter after another... It is useful if you already built correct mental framework and want to figure out quickly what some specific parameter does. If you did not, it may only confuse you.
The Solution
I found this free chapter from Professional Visual Basic 6 XML particularly useful:
Doing XPath and XSLT with Style!
As for �real� books, Khun Yee Fung�s �XSLT. Working with XML and HTML� is very good! It explains flow of control and how XPath expressions work very detailed and with lots of examples. You should feel much better after reading it!
[This message has been edited by Mapraputa Is (edited April 02, 2001).]
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thanks ajit , Mapraputa ..
Yesterday got real desperate as my post reflects.
It's comforting to know that XML project exp is'nt required to get the certification, hard work s'd do.
The chapters from the XML-bible too are good, got the links for that too. I'm kind of OK now .
I have the IBM certification objectives...a long way to go though.
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