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Xslt [ILLUSTRATED] (Paperback)
by Doug Tidwell (Author)
(36 customer reviews)                                                                                                                                                 

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Editorial Reviews
XML is an elegant and straightforward way to define data-centric documents to feed almost any kind of data processing or rendering system. The linchpin of many XML solutions, however, is XSLT. This standard provides a way to transform your XML documents into other XML formats, HTML, and almost any other format you wish. XSLT is an excellent tutorial on this critical technology, a must-have text for developers getting serious with XML.

This book is targeted at busy developers who want to learn standards-compliant skills with XSLT and learn them fast. The author uses the Apache Xalan XSLT engine for demonstration, but the material in the book is equally applicable to the XSLT engine in Microsoft's MSMXL parser, Saxon, and many other equivalent XSLT processors.

The material is presented logically from the transformation of a simple "Hello World!" XML file to an HTML document onto XPath locations, branching, linking, combining XML documents, and extension functions. After laying the groundwork for what XSLT can do, the author presents a fairly sophisticated case study--an online tutorial generator that generates HTML files, PDF files, and Zip files.

Aside from being a subject tutorial, XSLT is also an excellent reference that comes in handy for daily coding. The appendices cover XSLT, XPath, a function reference, and a frequently asked questions section. These reference sections include complete examples that make each concept quite clear. XSLT provides the horsepower behind XML, and this book provides the perfect vehicle to master transformation techniques. --Stephen W. Plain

Topics covered: Basic style sheet structure, XPath data model, branching and control elements, links and cross-references, sorting and grouping, combining XML documents, XSLT extension functions, case study, XSLT reference, XPath reference, function reference, XSLT guide (FAQ).

Book Description
XSLT documents a core technology for processing XML. Originally created for page layout, XSLT (Extensible Stylesheet Transformations) is now much more: a general-purpose translation tool, a system for reorganizing document content, and a way to generate multiple results-- such as HTML, WAP, and SVG--from the same content. What sets XSLT apart from other books on this critical tool is the depth of detail and breadth of knowledge that Doug Tidwell, a developer with years of XSLT experience, brings to his concise treatment of the many talents of XSLT. He covers XSLT and XPath, a critical companion standard, and addresses topics ranging from basic transformations to complex sorting and linking. He explores extension functions on a variety of different XSLT processors and shows ways to combine multiple documents using XSLT. Code examples add a real-world dimension to each technique. Useful as XSLT is, its peculiar characteristics make it difficult to get started in, and the ability to use advanced techniques depends on a clear and exact understanding of how XSLT templates work and interact. For instance, the understanding of "variables" in XSLT is deeply different from the understanding of "variables" in procedural languages. The author explains XSLT by building from the basics to its more complex and powerful possibilities, so that whether you're just starting out in XSLT or looking for advanced techniques, you'll find the level of information you need.

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Customer Reviews
36 Reviews
5 star: 16%  (6)
4 star: 22%  (8)
3 star: 25%  (9)
2 star: 19%  (7)
1 star: 16%  (6)
Average Customer Review
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
It's okay, but..., May 10, 2002
By Elizabeth B. "bookmaven" (Fort Worth, Texas USA) - See all my reviews
I don't recommend this for a programmer. This book seemed to be a gloss over of XSLT and didn't probe too deeply into it. For that I recommend Michael Kay's excellent work XSLT.

Basically I zipped through this book and wanted more - I wanted to understand what was going on and not just be able to do it. Kay's book provides that and much, much more.

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Light on details and useful examples, plus terrible index, December 18, 2002
By tomh (Newton, MA United States) - See all my reviews
This book left me a little high and dry. While it explained basic stuff about XSLT, and indeed did get me from knowing little to knowing a lot more, this book fell short once you had the basics. I come away feeling like XSL is both obtuse and difficult to use (perhaps this is an accurate assesment :-), but I feel that the author failed to offer specific details that would be important to help understand, and also didn't provide guidance on how to diagnose and resolve problems.

Much of the book is a reference, and to be fair, each element has a pretty good example. But the organization of the reference is poor, making it difficult to find what you are looking for. For example, there are four separate appendices each alphabetically organized, but if you're not sure which one you need, that's frustrating. Worse, the index is simply terrible, not even having entries on essential elements!

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Concise and clear, December 13, 2003
By Jack D. Herrington "engineer and author" (Silicon Valley, CA) - See all my reviews
The best and most concise reference work on XSLT. Though you will probably need to get another book, like the XSLT Cookbook, to get a feel for the way that XSLT should be written as opposed to what all of the options are.

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Most Recent Customer Reviews

Its actually a good book
I was able to use this book on a new project I was assigned to at work. I had previously read a bit about XPath, but other than that, I had no experience with XSLT. Read more
Published 4 months ago by J. James

A book I really use regularly
I've been programming in a system that uses XSLT for reporting for about three years now. This is the book I actually use. Read more
Published on April 5, 2005 by Henry Troup

A Disappointment From O'Reilly.
This book is one of the most frustrating technical books I have ever read. The fact that it is from O'Reilly just makes it doubly insulting. Read more
Published on March 18, 2005 by S. Gupte

Find Another book
This book was difficult to use, and I found that the author tried to cram too much into his examples. Some concepts were really poorly explained. Read more
Published on January 28, 2005 by Roger H. Thompson

Not Very Useful AT ALL
IMO book is too simple, never really give you anything to build on.
I bought it for a school project at the end I still bought Michael Kay's book(much more detail)

now this... Read more

Published on June 29, 2004 by Arthur Kao

Disappointing, not well organized
As a cookbook, it doesn't tell you nearly enough about the nitty-gritty of the functions it documents. Read more
Published on March 8, 2004 by John Broglio

Suffers from the Big Honking Example Problem
This book suffers from the big honking example problem. The authors clearly understand the subject but choose to not show each idea in a small code snippet (one that is usable)... Read more
Published on November 17, 2003 by Lee Carmichael

More difficult than it needs to be.
A useful book but not an easy read. Plowing through the material is a worthwile - if painful - experience. Read more
Published on November 6, 2003 by John Skyler

There are better offerings out there
As a programmer who's been around the block more than once, I found this book made XSLT a lot more difficult than it needs to be. Read more
Published on November 4, 2003

Scatter brained - not exactly accurate
This book is OK :( for an introduction XML, DTDs and XSLT. The information is scattered and not put together very well. Read more
Published on May 27, 2003 by Daniel Cox

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