I passed IBM's exam "XML and related technologies" (code 141)

Author: Razvan MIHAIU
razvan_rem@rem_mihaiu.name (please remove '_rem' and 'rem_')
From: www.mihaiu.name
Date: 11/04/2005

Today I managed to pass IBM's exam - XML and related technologies. My passing grade is 87 %. The details are as follows:

Exam topic % from the test My score
Architecture 18 % 90 %
Information modeling 27 % 100 %
XML processing 33 % 83 %
XML rendering 11 % 50 %
Testing and tuning 18 % 100 %

In order to prepare for this exam I used the same technique that I used for the SCJP exam. I will not develop any further this subject here. Please read the original article on the subject.

This exam is more difficult than the Sun Certified Java Programmer exam because the XML community is less developed that the Java community. The newsgroup comp.text.xml is useful for beginners but you will find that in many cases there will be no one to answer your questions. Another issue with this exam is that there is no single book in which to find all the relevant information. You will have to read several books and that leads to another problem: you can be overwhelmed with information.

The forums at Java Ranch are a useful resource:

XML Certification

XML and Related Technologies

Another good source of information for beginners is Tim's Bray "Annotated XML Specification".

Other than that, a very useful resource, but, mostly for advanced users is the mail list XML-DEV from www.xml.org. Even if most topics from this list are too advanced for someone preparing for IBM's exam it is certainly useful to monitor the discussions.

As always, find and solve as many mock exams as possible. A good list of such exams is found at java ranch.

Other sites that you might want to check include:

XML tutorials
Good hands-on tutorials
www.zvon.org
XML specifications
Useful compilation of XML specifications
xmlstds.xemantics.com
Examples
DTD, XML, XSL, DOM, RDF examples
www.xmlpitstop.com
Info XML
Information on all imaginable XML subjects
www.xml.com
XSLT Info
XSLT related info: check the grouping section
www.jenitennison.com

During my exam's preparation I read the following books:

  1. XML bible; this book is completely useless. The chapters about DOM and SAX just explain what each method does in the same manner as Xerces's documentation. This is very boring to read. You will not find code samples in the DOM and SAX chapters. Another minus: they don't have an overview of technologies in the beginning of the book (like you will find in "Professional XML"). For me this was a major drawback since I cannot learn how to use a technology without first understanding how it fits in the XML puzzle.
  2. "Professional XML" (second edition) - very good but not enough. I am recommending this book both to beginners and advanced users. For beginners, this is much better than "XML bible". If you want to learn XML don't lose your time with so-called "beginner's" books - like "XML bible". Go straight for "Professional XML" and you will not be disappointed. Problems with this book: some parts are outdated. Even some essential parts like XML Schema. Some people will say that this is not a problem because the specification did not change much from "Candidate recommendation" to "Recommendation". That is correct *but* (and this is a big "but") the specifications that have not reached the "Recommendation" status when "Professional XML" was written were treated superficially. Example: for "XML Schema" I was disappointed that the book did not give examples for enumeration or lists for simple types.
  3. "Processing XML with Java" by Elliotte Rusty Harold. I do not have any complains about this book. I do not know if this is enough for your certification because my main book was "Professional XML". Only when some topics were superficially covered in "Professional XML" I went on to read "Processing XML with Java". Anyway, from what I read, the book is very well written with plenty of examples.

I wish you success in your certification effort.



Best regards,
Razvan MIHAIU




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