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XML certification

 
Dan Chisham
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Last week I passed the IBM XML certification test with an 80% score. I also took the CXE exam and passed with an 81% score.
The XML help at JavaRanch was mostly responsible for my passing scores. To repay the favor, I will mention the study material that I considered most important to passing.
The 3 books listed by IBM (Professional XML, Professional XML Schema and XSLT from O'Reilly) are very important.
In addition, for XML syntax, The XML Specification Guide published by Wiley is essential. It goes through the specification line by line, explaining its meaning. MUCH better treatment than any of the other books, but covers only XML syntax.
An excellent resource for XSLT is the Wrox book XSLT by Michael Kay. This goes into more detail than the O'Reilly book. Just watch out for some stuff that never made it into the standard.
For SAX, the best treatment is the SAX2 book published by O'Reilly. I definitely would have missed one question on the exam if it had not been for this book.
Beyond these resources, the best thing to do is to carefully study the specifications themselves. These can be found at www.w3.org/TR/. In particular, the specifications of XLink, XPointer, XSignature, DOM, XSL-FO (under XSL) and CSS2 should be carefully studied. Don't trust the book treatment on these topics.
XML, XSLT and XML Schema also can be found at the site mentioned, but they are much more accessible in the book resources mentioned above. I did look at the specifications, but didn't notice anything on the exam that was not in the books on these topics.
 
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Big congratulations, Dan!
 
Tong Chen
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Dan,
First of all, congratulations to you!
It looks like you got the high score because you read 5+ books and put a lot of energy in the exam preparation.
If I can not afford buying ALL the books you mentioned, which one book (or two books) do you think is (are) the most important book(s)?
Thank you...
 
Dan Chisham
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Actually, I read a lot more books on XML than just those that I mentioned.
The IBM recommended books are essential. On the IBM on-line practice exam, some questions are taken directly from the Professional XML book. You might be able to get by with just this book; however, this is an extremely tough exam. Heavy emphasis on XML syntax, DTDs and XML Schema.
Also don't forget the on-line specifications. zvon.org has a lot of good tutorials and examples. mulberrytech.com has some good resources. xfront.com also, especially for XML Schema.
Aside from these (and of course JavaRanch), I would be wary of most on-line tutorials. I have found that a lot of them have wrong or misleading information.
It's a lot of material to master. And the material is often cryptic, confusing and contradictory. The real trick is to just focus on the stuff and read it over and over again. After a while, it will begin to make sense. Don't accept the first explanations that you come across. XML is extremely complex--and the tendency is to make it simple for readers. Trouble is that the exam doesn't test on the simple stuff. So the best strategy is to find the best resources and delve into them deeply. Also take many practice exams--the IBM on-line exam, XMLWHIZ and so forth.
Good luck!
 
Vasudha Deepak
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Congratulations.
Vasudha
 
Tong Chen
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Thank you Dan!
Your advice is very helpful!
 
srinivasan ganesan
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I agree with what Dan said regarding the preparation except that I would like to add one more thing.
I understand that lot of the related techonlogies are still in the development phase but I found that it if you want to understand the concepts better, its better to practise them simultaneously as you are reading through.
One of the difficulties you would encounter is to find all the tools, the parsers, the add ons to your browser, stuff like that but its definitely worth the effort if you really want to learn them.
Srini
 
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