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XSLT Paperback – Jul 6 2008

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Book Description

Mastering XML Transformations

About the Author

Doug Tidwell is a senior programmer at IBM. He has more than a sixth of a century of programming experience, and has been working with markup languages for more than a decade. He was a speaker at the first XML conference in 1997, and has taught XML classes around the world. His job as a Cyber Evangelist is to look busy and to help people use new technologies to solve problems. Using a pair of zircon-encrusted tweezers, he holds a master's degree in computer science from Vanderbilt University and a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Georgia. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with his wife, cooking teacher Sheri Castle (see her web site athttp://www.sheri-inc.com) and their daughter Lily.

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Amazon.com: 7 reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
You've got a friend in the transformation business Aug. 8 2008
By Bill Coan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Doug Tidwell knows his stuff, loves his stuff, and is eager to share his stuff with you. His stuff is xml, but his authoritative and well-written new book, XSLT, Second Edition, focuses on the eXtensible Stylesheet Language for Transformations.

If you're reading this, you probably already know that transformations are the means by which xml files can be converted from one format to another and sliced, diced, sorted, ordered, linked, and/or combined with other xml files along the way. Or maybe you don't already know that but you've heard that XSLT is a mysterious force with the power to convert xml data into html or pdf or scalable vector graphic format or other formats. Either way, Tidwell's book will help you grasp and exploit the power of xml transformations.

Previous exposure to xml concepts will save you time and help you to get the most out of the book, but don't worry if you're a newbie, because Tidwell provides a concise description of xml basics near the front of the book. And don't worry if you lack specialized tools for processing XSLT files: Tidwell thoughtfully provides download links and installation instructions for four popular XSLT processors (Xalan, Saxon, Microsoft XSLT Processor, and the Altova XSLT engine).

Nearly 600 pages of the book are devoted to appendixes filled with reference materials (about which, more later), but don't be misled by that fact. Tidwell knows that reference materials are useless without orientation and understanding, and the first 300 pages of the book provide exactly that.

Tidwell also knows that your time is valuable, and so he starts you off easy but FAST. In less than 45 pages, he covers the basics and walks you through a "Hello World" example. If you're new to XML or XSLT, the scales will fall from your eyes as you breeze through these pages.

From there, Tidwell devotes the next 100 pages to the two main activities of transformation: 1) teasing precise bodies of data from source files and 2)generating output in the desired format. By the time you get that far, you realize that you're in very good hands. Tidwell builds your comfort level and your confidence as he goes along. He holds back the really gnarly stuff until last: branching and control elements, links and cross-references and, finally, sorting, grouping, and combining data.

It's a very well organized approach, and the 300+ pages of orientation are exactly what you need in order to benefit from the reference materials in the appendixes.

And what about those reference materials? More fantastic stuff: The XSLT reference covers all the elements defined in the XSLT specification; the XPath reference covers key aspects of the XPath specification; other appendixes cover XSLT, XPath, and XQuery functions, XML Schemas, regular expressions, XSLT formatting codes, and migration from XSLT 1.0 to 2.0. (But NOTE: Changes brought about by XSLT 2.0 are discussed throughout the book, not limited to a single appendix entry.)

Even if you're a Jedi Master of XSLT, you'll be glad to have this book on your shelf for ready reference to the appendixes. If you rate yourself at an intermediate level of mastery, the chapters on advanced XSLT concepts will carry you to the next level. And if you're just beginning, you'll recognize Tidwell as a true friend in the transformation business. He will get you going in no time. The book is well organized, well written, and extremely well focused on its stated subject.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
It's only for beginners Feb. 2 2010
By Snoop - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I bought this book last week for a specific problem I need to solve at work. I mostly need this book to understand the syntax. Even though it provides the basic reference to get you started, it leaves out much of the details needed to understand the capabilities and limitations of XSLT. Needless to say that I still did not get the answer to my question from this book. It's the "Hello World" version. The examples given in this book are hard to read since they don't highlight/bold the code that they're discussing.

I am using this book in combination with O'Rielly's XSLT Cookbook.

Buy this book if you just need basic reference book on your shelf otherwise look for something more advanced.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Is It Possible For A Book To Be Too Big? Oct. 3 2008
By Dan McKinnon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback

With XSLT 2nd Edition, this behemoth of a book tops out at over 950+ page, 600 of them a reference on XSLT itself. The 9 chapters earlier do plenty to discuss what XSLT is, how it's used, and how to use it.

If you need to use XSLT at your job or just want to learn more about it, you have come to the right place, just don't expect a quick read, this one will take a while to get through but it's worth the journey.

Best XSLT book I've read Jan. 18 2013
By Cedrick May - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Though I am fairly proficient with XML, I'm new to XSLT. I needed to learn it, so I've sampled about a dozen XSLT books from h library and on my tablet, but this is the best one for newcomers *or* veterans. The first part of the book is and excellent tutorial on the language, and the rest is reference, but the combination was golden for me. I will be able to use this book for a long time, and I suspect that a lot of other newcomers will appreciate the clear and straightforward explanations of how to use XSLT. No goofy jokes or distractions, just good solid teaching. That does not mean that this book is dry at all. It strikes just the right tone for people looking to learn. It also uses very nice real-world examples of how to use XSLT. This is where I felt the other OReilly book, "Learning XSLT," fell short. The examples seemed very specific to one type of use scenario that I just could not for the life of me identify with or translate into anything useful for my purposes. This XSLT book by Doug Tidwell struck a great balance between general use and specific examples. I highly recommend it!
Excellent Dec 8 2012
By Charles Curtis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've been using this book professionally as I have recently had to do some programming in this language, and I found this textbook readable, with a logical development of concepts, and the explanations easy to understand. Highly recommended.