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Aimed at both Web designers and Web developers, Beginning XSLT
provides an in-depth tutorial and reference to XSL, plus related XML tools and standards. Starting from the ground up, this text provides an extremely detailed yet accessible survey of the latest in tools and XSL programming techniques that can extend the range of your XML-driven Web applications or Web sites.
As a thorough tutorial to XSL, this text stands out, with its patient authorial style and the consistent use of an online TV guide for a case study used to illustrate key concepts. The advantage to this approach is the consistency of the material. Early sections look at the underpinnings of XML itself before delving into the basics of transforming XML data (for a TV schedule) into (X)HTML using today's tools, including MSXML, Saxon, and Xalan.
The author's expertise is continually on display throughout this text as she adds new functions and flexibility to XSL operations, including searching and sorting abilities. This book convincingly demonstrates that XSL is a "real" programming language, with support for variables and even simulating changing variables through recursion. Chances are you may not need every technique presented here, but the range of options covered remains impressive and helps make this a book you can return to more than once as you extend your knowledge of XSL over time.
Later sections range further afield, with material on extensions to "standard" XSL (like extension functions and attributes that let you do more), as well as other options for processing XML (like Schematron, for example). Two standards get their due late in the book--the Resource Definition Framework Site Summary (RSS), for describing content channels, and graphics defined with the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) standard. Handy reference sections for XSL keywords and XPath round out this admirably rich text.
For anyone new to XSL, this title will serve in providing the basics, with its patient presentation style and truly clear examples. For those who want to do even more, this book is surprisingly deep for a beginner's text. In all, it provides a wealth of options for XSL and related standards that will definitely meet the needs of a variety of readers seeking to get acquainted with today's important XSL standards and tools. --Richard Dragan
XML is established as the universal standard for delivering documents and data on the Web. The next step is to process that data and the XSL Transformation language, XSLT, has been developed as the primary means for such processing. XSLT can be used to convert XML data for presentational purposes as well as to modify data structure.
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- Paperback: 700 pages
- Publisher: Wrox Press Inc; 1st edition
(May 1, 2002)
- Product Dimensions: 9.0 x 7.2 x 1.6 inches
Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds.
- Average Customer Review: based on 11 reviews.
Amazon.com Sales Rank in Books: #313,260
- In-Print Editions:
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
If you ever buy 1 bookon XSLT, make it this one, October 4, 2002
I've found "Beginning XSLT" by Jeni Tennison ...to be one of the best overall books on Web development to come out in recent times. I've always wanted a book covering in-depth examples of XSLT (eXtensible Stylesheet Language Transformations), as I've so often grown sick and tired of the mere 30 or less pages my XML books dedicate to the subject. XSLT is quite easy to learn, it's just traditionally been hard to find enough information on the subject all in the same place.
Published in May 2002, the examples use the latest XSLT W3C recommendation, so it's current and set to go... Much thanks to the folks at Wrox for putting this one together.
Written in a manner that is both educational and entertaining, Jeni presents the reader with a simple theme everyone's familiar with - a television schedule listing consisting of XML-based data. She proceeds to describe how XSLT can be used to quickly render XML into effective hypertext documents for dynamic presentation.
While the Web development community is normally torn on this approach, with some devs preferring a more wider range of examples, with others favoring the application of a specific technology towards a single concept, (I'll admit that I'm normally one of the former), Tennison's use of the example is easy to grasp and far-reaching. She lays out the example and then proceeds to construct it. And doing so along with her is quite cool.
The book features excellent descriptions of how a developer can work with result sets, use XSLT functions, keys/grouping, escaping and working with CDATA, using variables and parameters, recursion, and one of the best introductory discussions of XPath in print. The book is also completed by two very healthy appendices that serve as quick references guides on XSLT and XPath. The major platforms supporting XSLT and their parsers are described and contrasted in-depth, including MSXML3, Saxon, Xalan, SAX, etc.
Tennison takes the point-of-view of a best-practices approach, preaching performance and thoughtful, intuitive design over mere pushing of data to be spit out. She structures her discussion in such a way that makes it easy for the experienced programmer to quickly pickup XSLT for their projects, but in doing so remaining within the grasp of the novice to learn a powerful new tool.
The only criticism I have about the book is that due to the ongoing example of the TV guide, it makes the book somewhat difficult to pickup in mid-project, as frequent reference is made to examples laid out in earlier chapters. One must usually go through the examples from the beginning to really get it.
But this book's positive aspects far outweigh the negative, and the latter is only a personal situation I ran into... the book is a steal considering everything you and your development team will get out of it.
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