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Mastering XML Transformations

by Doug Tidwell

ISBN 0596000537 / 9780596000530 / 0-596-00053-7
Publisher O'Reilly Media
Language English
Edition Softcover
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Book summary

Subtitled "Mastering XML Transformations", XSLT covers a core XML technology. XML is great for processing or transporting data, but it is rarely what you want as final output. Using XSLT, you can transform XML data into a presentation format such as HTML or Adobe PDF. You can also transform data from one XML vocabulary into another. This title is both a tutorial and reference, explaining the full use of XSLT and XPath expressions.

The book opens with a concise overview of XML and a guide to installing Apache's Xalan XSLT engine, which is used for the examples throughout. The next chapter puts XSLT to work, showing how to create and apply a simple style sheet. Chapter 3 introduces XPath, with the following chapter covering more advanced topics such as branching, looping, recursion, invoking XSLT templates with parameters and using XSLT variables. The following chapter deals with linking, the next sorting and grouping, and after that the author shows how to use the document function to combine XML documents. There is a detailed look at extending XSLT with Java, Javascript and other languages. To close the tutorial section the author offers a case study centred on a tutorial-building tool he developed, with the engaging name of Toot-O-Matic. The reference section occupies nearly half of the book, and covers XSLT and XPath. It is the best kind of reference, with detailed examples, comments and illustrations. Finally there is a brief guide to common problems and a glossary.

This is a fine book for those who need to get up to speed with XSLT, which must include most XML developers. It is also worth checking out Michael Kay's XSLT Programmer's Reference. Kay's book has a little more detail, while this title is more approachable for XSLT newcomers. --Tim Anderson [via]