The term hacking has a bad reputation in the press. They use it to refer to someone who breaks into systems or wreaks havoc with computers as their weapon. Among people who write code, though, the term hack refers to a “quick-and-dirty” solution to a problem, or a clever way to get something done. And the term hacker is taken very much as a compliment, referring to someone as being creative and having the technical chops to get things done. The Hacks series is an attempt to reclaim the word, document the good ways people are hacking, and pass the hacker ethic of creative participation on to the uninitiated. Seeing how others approach systems and problems is often the quickest way to learn about a new technology.
XML Hacks is for folks who like to cobble together a variety of free or low-cost tools and techniques, with XML as the touchstone, to get something practical done. This book is designed to meet the needs of a broad audience: from those who are just cutting their teeth on XML to those who are already familiar with it. Even experts will find new approaches to solving interesting challenges among these hacks—for example, Rick Jelliffe’s hack on converting Wiki to XML via SGML [Hack #94] . Because it covers a lot of ground, this book will probably meet some need, no matter at what level you are hacking with XML.