Learning XSLT
Learning XSLT PDF
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Released: November 2003
Pages: 370

XSLT is a powerful language for transforming XML documents into something else. That something else can be an HTML document, another XML document, a Portable Document Format (PDF) file, a Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file, a Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) file, Java code, or a number of other things. You write an XSLT stylesheet to define the rules for transforming an XML document, and the XSLT processor does the work.

As useful as XSLT is, its peculiar characteristics make it a difficult language in which to get started. In fact, newcomers are often a little dazed on first contact. Learning XSLT offers a hands-on introduction to help them get up to speed with XSLT quickly. The book will help web developers and designers understand this powerful but often mystifying template-driven and functional-styled language, getting them over the many differences between XSLT and the more conventional programming languages.

Learning XSLT moves smoothly from the simple to complex, illustrating all aspects of XSLT 1.0 through step-by-step examples that you'll practice as you work through the book. Thorough in its coverage of the language, the book makes few assumptions about what you may already know. You'll learn about XSLT's template-based syntax, how XSLT templates work with each other, and gain an understanding of XSLT variables. Learning XSLT also explains how the XML Path Language (XPath) is used by XSLT and provides a glimpse of what the future holds for XSLT 2.0 and XPath 2.0.

The ability to transform one XML vocabulary to another is fundamental to exploiting the power of XML. Learning XSLT is a carefully paced, example-rich introduction to XSLT that will have you understanding and using XSLT on your own in no time.

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2.1

(based on 10 reviews)

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1.0

I had to unlearn what this book

By akaScooter

from Raleigh, NC

About Me Designer, Developer

Verified Reviewer

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        Comments about oreilly Learning XSLT:

        After having helpful experiences with so many other O'Reilly publications, I started my education into XSLT with this book. Not being too up-to-speed with many of XML's nuances at the time (namespaces, XPath, etc.), I unfortunately mis-learned a lot about XML by relying on this book, and ended up abandoning XML/XSLT's usefulness for a few years.

        Once I picked up XML again—with a lot more knowledge about not only XML, but also functional programming—I came back to this book and was now horrified at how unqualified its author was to tackle this subject.

        Two examples of why this book is a "must-avoid":

        1) The author consistently avoids the use of XML namespaces. When, on my initial go-around, I attempted to use XSLT on namespaced elements, I was completely at a loss as to why it didn't work.

        2) Many of the author's examples are so over-complicated, contrived and counter-productive. A good amount of the book is devoted to attempting to recreate control structures like three-expression for-loops and other procedural/imperative structures in XSLT, when functional programming paradigm design solutions (which, as I learned much later, was behind the design of XSLT in the first place) are much simpler, efficient and maintainable.

        Once I saw the errors in the book, I honestly had to devote a lot of brain power to literally unlearn what this book attempted to teach. Once I did that, I was able to lean on another O'Reilly title, Evan Lenz's "XSLT 1.0 Pocket Reference" (which I DO HIGHLY recommend), to get me through my XSLT work.

         
        1.0

        Learning XSLT Review

        By Techworx

        from Undisclosed

        Comments about oreilly Learning XSLT:

        I have devoured more than 20 O'Reilly books over the years. Learning XSLT has been the most difficult to understand. Initial chapter drills way too deep into details too soon -- survivable by only the most perseverant. The downloadable examples are its saving grace.

         
        5.0

        from 0 to 60 in a few hours...

        By Perl kittie

        from Undisclosed

        Comments about oreilly Learning XSLT:

        This book was just what I needed to get me up to speed with XSLT. Describes how each of the XML, XPath, XSL-FO, Xerces, Xalan, etc. technologies work together and is a systematic introduction; well-organized.

         
        1.0

        Disorganized, scatter-brained and barely useful.

        By Bernie

        from Undisclosed

        Comments about oreilly Learning XSLT:

        There were a few moments of clarity scattered throughout the book, but most of the time it seemed Fitzgerald just didn't take the time to organize his thoughts. Paragraphs don't have main ideas and sections often spend more time referring to future sections than on content itself. Examples also have extraneous information that are completely unrelated to the topic at hand.

         
        1.0

        Uncharacteristically poor for O'reilly

        By GBK

        from Undisclosed

        Comments about oreilly Learning XSLT:

        I agree with the poor reviews and am surprised O'Reilly let this out without sufficient oversight. This was the most recent XSLT book I could find on O'Reilly Safari and was attempting to read it cover to cover but gave up after the second chapter.

        There are a lot of digressions explaining concepts 'in detail' at the wrong place, thereby confusing the reader. Also concepts and language used is not consistent and sometimes cryptic.

        I finally switched to 'XSLT' by Doug Tidwell and what a relief it was, even though the book is 2 years older and was released in 2001.

         
        1.0

        Meandering explanations, confusing examples

        By Anonymous

        from Undisclosed

        Comments about oreilly Learning XSLT:

        This book's poor organization and aimless discussion are shocking for an O'Reilly title. The author is more concerned with where to look in the XML or XSLT spec for more detail than introducing concepts logically and providing meaningful examples. An entire chapter is devoted to charchter sets and code pages when all I want to know is how to turn XML into HTML.

        I bought this title based on glowing reviews at Amazon, and am sorely disappointed I didn't go to a bookstore and thumb through a copy. XSLT is difficult enough to figure out for a beginner, but I don't see how this book is of much value even to seasoned programmers.

         
        4.0

        A well written introduction

        By Anonymous

        from Undisclosed

        Comments about oreilly Learning XSLT:

        This book is an excellent introduction to XSLT, as a trianer as well as a developer I found that it was well paced and the clarity of the information leaves nothing to be desired. It is preseneted in bite sized chunks so I have no hesitation in recomending it as post a training resource. I can also recomend it to all those who wish to learn the fundamentals of XSLT, even if they do not have a wide knowledge of XML. In some respects it also serves as a usefull starting point for XML as XSLT provides practical hands on results.

        The layout and design of the book are easy on the eye.

         
        1.0

        Too Clever

        By Andy

        from Undisclosed

        Comments about oreilly Learning XSLT:

        Key concepts are not introduced in a logical sequence, requiring the reader to jump around through the book to get a full picture. Explanations are few, extremely terse, and hardly lucid. The author's examples seem too clever, not practical, instead demonstrating the author's ability to torture XSL's syntax.

        I do not feel this book is in any way keeping with the extremely high-quality of O'Reilly's titles, which I have come to rely on in the past decade.

         
        2.0

        Must Disagree

        By Anonymous

        from Undisclosed

        Comments about oreilly Learning XSLT:

        I found this text to be poorly organized, wordy, & confusing. The author doesn't properly explain templates until Chapter 10 (p. 180). One must start with the basics, then proceed to build upon them!

         
        4.0

        Very good entry level book

        By Bob Bannon from the Columbia Java Users Group

        from Undisclosed

        Comments about oreilly Learning XSLT:

        Learning XSLT provides a comprehensive introduction to XSLT. This is a very good entry-level book on XSLT. This book provides a entry level approach without being too "entry level."

        The author focuses on providing examples for each concept demonstrated and builds on those examples in subsequent chapters. The author explains the template-based approach of XSLT and how it is different from typical programming or scripting languages.

        In addition, the book covers XSLT functions. The functions are explained fully and examples are well written. After each example, the book discusses the implications of the example and the output that results from the transformation. The author points out where the chapter in the book relates to the section of the XSLT specification, if the reader wanted to find the actual specification. All the chapters are easy to follow and understand because the author's writing style is very fluid and clear. The upcoming XSLT 2.0 specifications are also highlighted throughout the book.

        I would recommend this book to anyone new to XSLT. It's a good book for learning XSLT in clear terms and at an easy pace. You won't be let down if you take the time to read it carefully, try out the different features of XSLT, and think about the XSLT concepts presented.

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