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XSLT Cookbook, Second Edition: Extensible Stylesheet What?

December 21, 2005

Sebastopol, CA--In building an online world we are often confronted with fish out of water: we have developers forced to design, designers trying to be information architects, and information architects forced to program. All are struggling to survive in an ocean of acronyms--HTML, CSS, AJAX, LAMP, XML, and XLST--to rattle off just a few. So where can they turn when they need to understand how to use a particular technology? Especially when they want answers fast? How about a cookbook?

As Sal Mangano, author of the XSLT Cookbook, Second Edition (O'Reilly, US $49.95) says, "Most developers are not satisfied with simply figuring out how to make something work: they are interested in mastering the technology and using the best-known techniques, and they want answers now. There is no better way to master a subject than by borrowing from those who already discovered better ways to do things." XSLT is an extremely versatile and valuable language for working with XML documents, but it is also highly complex, particularly now with the confusion between version 1.0 and 2.0. Long delays in 2.0 have meant support for the new version is sporadic, although parsers such as Saxon are now available that use 2.0.

To help bridge the version gap, the new edition of XLST Cookbook not only offers code recipes for solving everyday problems with XLST 1.0 but also shows developers how to take advantage of new features in XLST 2.0. Mangano emphasizes this when he explains his reason for a new edition, "I wanted to show how much easier it was to solve some of the problems from the first edition using the new facilities in XSLT 2.0." Each recipe walks through a problem and a solution, with explanations of the choices made and techniques used; many recipes include alternate solutions and explore issues such as convenience and performance.

Some of the topics covered include:

  • Manipulating strings
  • Selecting content in source documents
  • Converting from XML to plain text
  • Tweaking XML documents with stylesheets
  • Using XSLT to query XML documents
  • Creating charts and graphs with SVG and XSLT
  • Generating C and XSLT code using XSLT
  • Processing Visio and Excel documents in XSLT
  • Using XSLT to create SOAP documentation from WSDL
  • Embedding XSLT in other processing
  • Testing and debugging XSLT stylesheets
  • Creating generic XSLT processors which work on many XML
  • vocabularies

    This volume is a must-have for web developers at all levels. As John Wetherbie of Javaranch.com says, "For beginners it provides concrete examples of how to use XSLT. For more advanced developers it provides a good reference for solving that problem you are trying to solve." Mangano puts it a little more bluntly when asked to describe the target audience of his book: "All programmers who need to do anything at all with XML. I am especially interested in converting those poor souls who only know how to manipulate XML using SAX or DOM in languages like Java and Perl!"

    With recipes for all levels, the XSLT Cookbook, Second Edition is the ideal companion for developers who want to learn by example.

    Praise for the previous edition:

    "O'Reilly books have a reputation among information technology professionals as being thorough, rich in information, and well worth their cost. Sal Mangano's XSLT Cookbook certainly meets all these criteria. Through the extensive use of real-life examples, Mangano has written a book that is essential reading for anyone using ZSLT or anyone who wants to learn more about doing so."
    --David Owens, "Technical Communication"

    "I was very impressed by the amount of time and thought that was put into the creation of many of these recipes--not only are many of them really, really hard to do, but they're also things I've seen a real need for in the real world. XSLT programmers, do yourself a favor and take a look through this book before you hurt your brain with your next assignment."
    --Mike George, Salt Lake City ColdFusion Users Group

    Further reviews of the previous edition

    Additional Resources:

    XSLT Cookbook, Second Edition
    Sal Mangano
    ISBN: 0-596-10974-7, 751 pages, $49.95 US
    1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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