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XSLT: Programmer's Reference [Paperback]

Michael Kay
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 1 2001 0764543814 978-0764543814 2
What is this book about?

This compact, relevant, updated version reflects recent changes in the XSLT specification and developments in XSLT parsers. The material on tools and implementations has been revised; so too have all the examples. It also includes a new chapter on writing extension functions.

XML has firmly established itself as the universal standard for managing data for the web and is now being implemented on a wide scale.

XSL (eXtensible Stylesheet Language), a vital companion to XML, is used for two main purposes: to format or style XML data so that it can be displayed in a browser and to transform XML data (XSLT). When you transform an XML document, you manipulate the data into a new structure, for example, re-ordering the data. This enables the same data store to be used in an unlimited number of ways. XSLT is a flexible, customizable, and cross-platform language.

XSLT is a notoriously difficult language to understand, but this book, while being a complete reference to the recommendation, will also give code examples showing how it all ties together and can be effectively employed in a real-world development scenario.

What does this book cover?

In this book, you'll find the following topics covered:

  • The rationale behind XSLT: What is it for?
  • The XSLT processing model
  • Design patterns and stylesheet structure
  • A full reference to the XPath and XSLT languages
  • The use of XSLT with worked examplesCurrently available XSLT processors - updated to reflect recent advances in XSLT parser technology
  • Coverage of proposed specification enhancements

Who is this book for?

This book is for programmers already using XML to organize their data in applications and for those who want to use the power and compatibility of XSLT to improve the display of their data. The book is in three parts: a detailed introduction to the concepts of the language, a reference section giving comprehensive specifications and working examples of every feature, and an exploitation guide giving advice and case studies for the advanced user.


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From Amazon

Author Michael Kay exudes enthusiasm in this guide, XSLT Programmer's Reference, by taking every opportunity to illustrate the power and flexibility of XSLT. As XML begins to take hold, the eXtensible Stylesheet Language: Transformation (XSLT) standard will be playing a major role in making all those XML predictions a reality.

Kay calls XSLT the "SQL of the Web"--a phrase that is sure to perk up the ears of many readers expecting a simple documentation of just another Web-language standard. Like other Wrox Programmer's Reference series titles, this book starts off with chapters that rapidly introduce the concepts and set the context for the core of the book, which is a complete documentation of the XSLT standard. The book uses this space well to explore the transformation process and the tree structure that is used for both input and output of style sheet documents. By the time the reader gets to the reference section of the book, he or she will be convinced of the power of XSLT.

Each element of XSLT is covered with concise examples that include both the source XML code and style sheet code. XSLT style sheets can be used in a variety of ways and across a wide spectrum of complexity. The book helps the reader grasp this concept by presenting four style sheet design patterns that comprise the vast majority of implementations. The text looks at each, demonstrating how to identify the design pattern by its content and apply it to appropriate circumstances.

XSLT is the true muscle behind XML and is integral to putting XML to work in the real world. This title is simply a must-have for any developer utilising XML. --Stephen W Plain --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

XSLT Programmer's Reference is a compact, up to date and relevant explanation of the W3C's XSLT and XPath recommendations, including any material that they rely on from referenced specifications such as XML, XML Namespaces, IEEE and Java. XSLT is a notoriously difficult language to understand, but this book, while being a complete reference to the recommendation, will also give code examples showing how it all ties together and can be effectively employed in a real world development scenario. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
It wouldn't be too extravagant to claim that XML is the biggest thing to hit the web since the whole thing started less than ten years ago. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars the only XSLT book you need Feb. 25 2003
Format:Paperback
I needed to learn XSLT and fast. The folks at Wrox press have always been great about covering their topics thorougly, making their books useful both as a means of learning a new technology, and as a reference once you've gotten your feet wet. On this experience, I went with the XSLT book that the Professional JSP 2nd Edition book recommended, this one.
And they were right. This book has a good intro to XSLT, enough of an explanation of XML to get you going - though I would strongly recommend you knowing your way around XML before you attempt to tackle XSLT.
The recursive nature of XSLT is a kinda tough thing to get your head around at first, so the book starts out with some simpler implementations, so that you aren't completely horrified by the whole thing, as I was when first messing with XSL.
Also, the book is rife with examples of common uses of XSLT, which helped me out a lot, especially as I was trying to whip up progressively complex XSLT stylesheets.
All the XSLT functions are laid out in the middle of the book, dictionary style, making them easy to find. The entries include the syntax, explanation, and implementation examples, making the concepts and usages easy to grasp. Same goes with the XPath explanation which is in the following chapter. All this makes this book a great desk-side XSLT reference as well as a learning tool.
If you need to learn XSLT, you can't go wrong with this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a masterpiece and source of inspiration June 25 2001
Format:Paperback
After reading about the author at the beginning of the book it quickly becomes clear that, at least as far as technical knowledge goes, Michael Kay is ideally qualified to write a book on XSLT (he has long computer science experience and is one of the worlds leading experts on the subject of XSLT). However, writing a really good book also requires a lot of work as well as good writing and teaching skills. Guess what? Michael Kay shines in these areas and delivers a brilliant technical book! His writing manages in an amazing way to be at the same time lucid, precise, simple and consise and yet exhaustive. His writing style will be an ideal for me to aspire to when I am writing documentation. I am trying hard to think of an angle at which I can criticise his writing - maybe it is a bit dry? But no, I cannot really claim that either since the text is at times both personal and relaxed!
I can not make a definitive judgement about this yet, but the book seems to be very comprehensive treatise of XSLT. What impressed me is how Michael highlights the versatility and power of XSLT by demonstrating many different usage patterns.
Read the book and be inspired!
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By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I agree with Maxime, marathonrunner, sendow, the reader from Iowa, John Tompkins and others that:
It is great reference book for developers who already know XML well and have some understanding of XSL and XSLT. It is NOT a tutorial or teaching book that is user oriented and that provides concepts and terms systematically. Less than 10% of the book covers concepts and the rest is devoted to detailing the W3C specifications.
It was the first published book on XSLT and I can now relate to the book after a substantial amount learning the core of the language from many different sources. Speaking of the W3C specs for XSLT, I have often wondered whether the XSLT language will ever become a commonly used business software language, or remain the tool of software intellecutals and researchers.
Mr. Kays knows a lot about XML, XSL, and XSLT. It would have helped to present the problem first, then the language, and finally the result. But we all owe him a lot for writing so much a such a short time!
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Format:Paperback
As others have mentioned, this is a reference. XLST is much like awk and sed type scripting languages where { FS = ",[ \t]*|[ \t]+" } actually means something. Make no mistake, this is a "disciplined" read. But, the effort is well worth it since you learn it all. There are plenty of examples to demonstrate each command/expression. My only wish was that Kay included a section on performance. After reading the book I was up and running with XLST programming, but noted some real performance issues. Also, *definately* get a XSLT tool such as eXcelon Stylus to speed up showing you the results of your code. You will save much, much time this way. Regarding time saved, its the difference between gdb (night) and dev studio (day) when debugging c++ app's. This programming book covering a tedious scripting language, so most web designers will not find it useful. They will need tools to write this stuff for them, and a "light-weight" version of this reference.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good intro to a tough topic May 26 2004
Format:Paperback
XSLT is almost the official programming language of XML - in fact, it uses XML as its representation. Given the importance of XML, XSLT is going to be a critical tool at anyone's workbench sooner or later.
XSLT is also a hard language to work with. That's where this book comes in. When I needed to write an XML-based application of my own - one involving DocBook, HTML, and XSLT itself - XSLT was the natural choice, though a daunting one. Using only this book, I managed to pick up the XSLT programming model (hint: there is almost no such thing as flow of control) and get the job done. Kay's discussions of XML name spaces and other basics were part of what got the job done right.
This book should be on the shelf of every serious XML programmer. I don't know whether a programming beginner would get the full value from it, but experienced readers will find it dense, well-organized, and above all helpful.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat useful for day to day usage
This book is not intended to be used has a cookbook, this is a reference and you should buy it only if you want to understand the intricacies of the language.
Published 8 months ago by Jean-philippe Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars great great book
Great book. Can't believe how much work was put into it. Seems to have a usefull, concise example for every problem I've encountered. Useful as a reference as well. Read more
Published on April 29 2004 by "randalx"
5.0 out of 5 stars Challenging but well worth it.
This book is a challenge, but once you understand the fundamentals, the beauty of XSLT starts to emerge. Read more
Published on April 5 2004 by Peter Carey
5.0 out of 5 stars Covers everything you need to know about XSLT
I have this book and the XSLT Cookbook. This book covers all technical aspects of XSLT and the XSLT Cookbook gives you solutions to solve common tasks with the use of XSLT. Read more
Published on Jan. 28 2004 by Andreas Bjärlestam
5.0 out of 5 stars XSLT Indept
Covers 'every' detail you need to know about XSLT. If you use XSLT fairly often in you work then this has to be within arms-length.
Minor inconvinence is references to XSL 1. Read more
Published on Dec 23 2003 by Sridhar Guthula
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent XSLT tutorial and reference
This is a great book on XSLT from the author of the popular Saxon XSLT engine. This was the first book I read on XSLT, it gave me a very thorough understanding of the subject and... Read more
Published on Dec 13 2003 by Jack D. Herrington
5.0 out of 5 stars Best XSLT Book
I have been developing XSLT for a few years and this is the only book I use. It is the best book on XSLT, by far. However, it is not for beginners. Mr. Kay did a fantastic job!
Published on Sept. 16 2003 by P. Paquereau
5.0 out of 5 stars A really really good book!
I only bought this book because the guy whose copy I stole found me out and demanded that I give it back. I absolutely love this book and keep it by my desk. Read more
Published on March 23 2003 by Danilo Gurovich
5.0 out of 5 stars The best XSLT book I've read
I bought the O'Reilly book titled XSLT, and boy it made no sense to me. I bought this one, and I *got* it. Read more
Published on March 3 2003 by B3n S6z
5.0 out of 5 stars XSLT in a real project
On a contract with a deadline, I made a technology gamble on XSLT. Off to the bookshop, back with an armload for some serious self-ed. Read more
Published on Oct. 12 2002 by Peter Wone
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