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by Michael Fitzgerald
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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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