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European Unix Platform (EUP): Book Review: XSLT Programmer's Reference

Sep 23, 2000, 12:41 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Etienne Posthumus)


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"This is the first published book dedicated to XSLT. And in a refreshing break with tradition, it is also so good that we do not have to wait for something better to come along. I received some puzzled looks as I waxed lyrical about the book, said object clutched in my grubby mits. "So what is this XSLT thing that you are so excited about?" they asked. Is it some new-fangled style thing to make web pages look prettier, to be safely ignored or scorned by true hackers and programmers? No. Even though the hype around XML has been raging full-steam for quite some time, XSLT has remained in relative obscurity. This is partly due to the fact that the recommendations were only finalised to the end of 1999 (http://www.w3.org/TR/xslt - 16 November 1999). XSLT is a language for transforming XML documents into other documents. The words 'other documents' hides the subtle power of XSLT, it could for example be other XML documents, TeX documents, flat CSV files, HTML files or any other format that you could dream up. As the author states in the introduction to the book, think: 'XSLT is to XML as SQL is to relational data'. Be prepared to run into XSLT in future if you have anything to do with XML. And this book is seen as the Bible for XSLT. I could cut this review short by recommending it unconditionally, and be done with it. But let us look at why it is such a great book if you want to use XSLT."

"Are there any bad points? It is difficult for me to highlight a problem with this book - I had to scratch my head and think hard. For the sake of not only having a glowing review, there is one thing: There is no mention of how to do XSLT processing if you do not use Windows or Java."

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