XSLT 2.0 Programmer's Reference Paperback – Aug 20 2004
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From the Back Cover
When XML debuted in 1998, it was quickly embraced as both a practical tool and a strategic technology. XSLT and XPath soon became the preferred high-level languages for manipulating XML content. Now the editor of the XSLT 2.0 specification has written the ultimate reference manual for XSLT 2.0.
Youll gain a complete understanding of the concepts underlying XSLT, whats new in version 2.0, the structure of XSLT stylesheets, their relationship to XML schemas, and more. You will see how the language provides extensibility, and how to use it to create real XSLT applications. Finally, you will learn to use XSLT as a functional programming language to tackle complex computational problems.
What you will learn from this book
- Whats new in XSLT since the previous edition of this bestselling book
- Where XSLT fits into the XML family
- What every construct in the language does, and how to use each one
- How XSLT transforms XML to handle data conversions and data publishing
- How to use XSLT elements, patterns, and functions
- Development methods for specific stylesheets
- How to apply XSLT design patterns to produce selected results
Who this book is for
This book is for professional XML and XSLT programmers and programmers experienced in XML, HTML, and Web architecture who want to learn XSLT.
Wrox Programmers References are designed to give the experienced developer straight facts on a new technology, without hype or unnecessary explanations. They deliver hard information with plenty of practical examples to help you apply new tools to your development projects today.
About the Author
Michael Kay has been working in the XML field since 1997; he became a member of the XSLWorking Group soon after the publication of XSLT 1.0, and took over as editor of the XSLT 2.0 specification in early 2001. He is also a member of the XQueryWorking Group. He is well known not only through previous editions of this book, but also as the developer of the open-source Saxon product, a pioneering implementation of XSLT 2.0, XPath 2.0, and XQuery 1.0.
The author has recently formed his own company, Saxonica Limited, to provide commercial software and services building on the success of the Saxon technology. Previously he spent three years with Software AG, working with the developers of the Tamino XML server, a leading XQuery implementation. His background is in database technology: after leaving the University of Cambridge with a Ph.D., he worked for many years with the (then) computer manufacturer ICL, developing network, relational, and object-oriented database software products as well as a text search engine, and held the position of ICL Fellow.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
- If you have done little or no XSLT, and you want a book to efficiently explain how to start doing XSLT this is a TERRIBLE choice.
- If you are a beginner who wants to know every tiny detail of XSLT and has plenty of time to learn it, then this is a good choice.
- If you've already read an XSLT book, you are already comfortable with XSLT, and now you want to learn all the extra details the other authors thought wasn't important enough to include, then this is a GREAT choice.
This book almost reads like a specifiation. Although to be fair, I've read some specifications, like the EJB specification, that are more focused than this book. Any good trainer or training author knows that you have to organize your material to first put the emphasis on the central introductory concepts. Once your audience understands the basics, then you can build upon that foundation to explain the advanced topics. Along the way, you should always put the main focus on the most important topics, and just briefly mention extraneous details. Unfortunatley, this book does not organize the material for learning and covers everything with approximately the same emphasis. As just one example of this, Chapter 1 spends eight LONG pages on the history of XSLT including details like when so-and-so joined the specification team or presented a paper at a conference. What Chapter 1 does not do is give you any idea of how to write an XSLT sheet. I plodded my way through the first two chapters wondering when we'd get past all the gory details to a description of how to write an introductory XSLT sheet. Finally, I had enough and looked through the book trying to find how far I should jump ahead to find the introductory section, and realized it didn't exist. All the basics are interspersed with endless details throughout the book.
To be fair, the book calls itself a "programmer's reference." So one could argue that it shouldn't be designed to learn XSLT. However, trying to use this book as a reference would be equally probelmatic because its too hard to find the important information among all the extraneous details.
So if you already know XSLT well and want to know all the extra details, I truly do highly recommend this book. But if you want to learn XSLT in a resonable amount of time, I strongly recommend against this book.
The author is a professional, Wrox is a professional publisher. Then how come the book is so utterly poorly organized? Any book bearing the subtitle "Programmer's Reference" should be organized in such a way that the programmer will rapidly find what she's looking for. Thats is certainly not the case here. An intelligent use of page headers and footers is the first thing a reference book should try to achieve. No such attempt here (try to imagine a dictionnary with no page headers...).
The same goes for the use of titles and subtitles, general chapter and page organisation, font choices etc. The whole thing is a typesetter's nightmare. I might be wrong, but one suspects the author was allowed to typeset the book himself...
Bottom line: it takes way too long to find what one's looking for. In a reference work such flaws are unacceptable.
I still enjoy the book's excellent coverage of the subject matter, but its use is bound with much bickering and swearing out lound.
My big beef with the book is likely not Kay's fault. Being an author myself, I know how stubborn and pig headed publishers can be about their "style guidelines". Well, Wrox, your guidelines stink because this book is virtually impossible to use as a reference. Your font usage makes information impossibly hard to find by flipping pages. Your use of page headings is lame and unhelpful to the developer needing to find info fast.
In the end I have to recommend this book to XSLT 1.0 developers that need to get up to speed fast on XSLT 2.0 but it is too bad most of the profits are going to Wrox and not Kay.
There are two large pieces to the book. The first piece covers the basics of XSLT, with a tag-by-tag reference to the language, as well as XPath in the same manner. Both of these start with introductions that make it easy for novices to pick up the language. The second piece covers design patterns for templates then brings the whole work together into case study sections.
XSLT is an invaluable tool for anyone who works with XML. Once you understand it you will never want to be without it. This book is the best way to learn XSLT, and the best reference for those who already know XSLT. Period.
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