Book Information
Title: Flash XML StudioLab
Author: I. Tindale, J. Rowley, P. McDonald
Published by: Friends Of Ed
RRP: USD $49.99
Format: Mass-market paperback
CD: No, Web instead.
User Level: Intermediate
Review By: Andy (20 Ton Squirrel, ActionScripts.org)

At a glance: 8/10

A must-have for the XML novices out there, this is an in-depth exploration of XML that leaves the attentive reader itching to put newfound skills to the test.

Review:

This book details the use of XML in Flash. It approaches the topic from the vantage of a novice, so don't sweat not knowing a thing about XML. If you look at the little chart on the back of the book, you might note that this particular book is on the third tier of the FOE series of books… meaning the authors expect you to have an good working knowledge of Flash and ActionScripting.

Though I consider both Flash and ActionScript my lifeblood, I knew nothing about the subject of XML from page one. I have naught but glowie, gushy things to say about this book. Though it was a bit on the technical side, the knowledge of the subject matter was consummate. The authors took the time to discuss much of the minutiae and intricacies of XML.
The book details what XML is, how it is used, and how it is structured. While most books I've glanced through would just toss their example XML at you and expect you to be happy with that alone, these folks have been kind enough to approach data structure from several different angles. This shows that you can accomplish the same goal from many different approaches when it comes to presenting your XML data. Their different approaches also prove you can accomplish different goals using the same data... it all depends on how it's structured!
Most importantly the authors explain how all this XML stuff relates to an application like Flash and a user like YOU. Sure, it's nice to walk away from this book knowing how XML works in Flash, but they go much deeper than that. The examples provided give many innovative ways to breathe life and LIVE DATA into your Flash project. They even touch on the dreaded subject of the XMLsocket object, which was a pleasant surprise for me.
Let's face it, Flash has taught us that the web is no longer a static page to be viewed and yawned at. It's a vibrant, dynamic place that can leave you dazzled and breathless, screaming, "I WANT TO MAKE A SITE LIKE THAT!!!" Read this book and you'll see Flash taken to a whole new level!
I give this book Four out of Five Golden Cashews. The examples used were good. The explanations were, at times, needlessly wordy but ultimately worthwhile. The underlying sample project that they guide you on throughout the book really brings together all that is discussed.
In summary, this book is a must-have for the XML novices out there. It is an in-depth exploration of XML that leaves the attentive reader itching to put newfound skills to the test. Now, if you'll excuse me I have an XML tree to shake.