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Oliver Walker
Oliver Walker

The Ultimate Guide to XSLT 1.0: How to Transform XML with Ease and Confidence (Pocket Reference (O'Reilly)) Books


XSLT 1.0 Pocket Reference: A Quick Guide To XML Transformations (Pocket Reference (O'Reilly)) Books




If you work with XML, you probably know how important it is to transform your data into different formats and structures. Whether you need to display XML on a web page, convert it to another XML format, or process it with a programming language, you need a tool that can handle these tasks efficiently and reliably. That tool is XSLT, or Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations.




XSLT 1.0 Pocket Reference: A Quick Guide To XML Transformations (Pocket Reference (O'Reilly)) Books



Introduction




In this article, we will introduce you to the XSLT 1.0 Pocket Reference book, a concise and practical guide to XSLT that covers everything you need to know to get started with XML transformations. We will explain what XSLT is and why you need it, what the book offers and how to use it, and what benefits you can get from reading it. By the end of this article, you will have a clear idea of how this book can help you master XSLT and make your XML work easier and more enjoyable.


What is XSLT and why do you need it?




XSLT is a language that allows you to transform XML documents into other formats or structures. For example, you can use XSLT to:



  • Display XML data on a web page using HTML or CSS



  • Convert XML data into another XML format, such as RSS or Atom



  • Extract information from XML data using XPath expressions



  • Process XML data with a programming language, such as Java or C#



  • Validate XML data against a schema or a DTD



  • Sort, filter, group, or aggregate XML data



  • Generate new XML data from existing data



XSLT is a powerful and versatile tool that can handle complex and diverse XML transformations. However, it can also be challenging and confusing to learn and use, especially if you are new to XML or programming. That's why you need a good reference book that can teach you the basics of XSLT and provide you with useful examples and tips.


What is the XSLT 1.0 Pocket Reference book?




The XSLT 1.0 Pocket Reference book is a compact and comprehensive guide to XSLT that covers all the essential aspects of the language in a clear and concise manner. The book is written by Evan Lenz, an expert in XML technologies and a co-author of the O'Reilly book XSLT 2.0 and XPath 2.0 Programmer's Reference. The book is part of the O'Reilly Pocket Reference series, which provides quick and easy access to important information on various topics.


The book is divided into four chapters:



  • XSLT Overview: This chapter gives an introduction to XSLT and its syntax, concepts, and features.



  • XPath Reference: This chapter provides a complete reference to XPath, the language used to select and manipulate XML data in XSLT.



  • XSLT Elements Reference: This chapter provides a complete reference to XSLT elements, the building blocks of XSLT stylesheets.



  • XSLT Functions Reference: This chapter provides a complete reference to XSLT functions, the predefined operations that can be used in XSLT expressions.



The book also includes two appendices:



  • XSLT Processing: This appendix explains how to use various tools and environments to run XSLT transformations.



  • XSLT Quick Reference: This appendix summarizes the most important information from the book in a handy table format.



What are the main features of the book?




The book has several features that make it an ideal reference for XSLT beginners and experts alike. Some of these features are:



  • Compact size: The book is small and lightweight, making it easy to carry around and use anywhere.



  • Clear structure: The book is well-organized and easy to navigate, with each chapter and section having a clear title and a logical order.



  • Concise content: The book is written in a simple and straightforward language, with no unnecessary details or jargon. Each topic is explained in a few sentences or paragraphs, with examples and diagrams where appropriate.



  • Comprehensive coverage: The book covers all the aspects of XSLT 1.0, the most widely used version of the language. It also includes some information on XSLT 2.0 and 3.0, the newer versions that offer more features and functionality.



  • Consistent format: The book follows a consistent format for each reference entry, with the following sections: name, description, syntax, attributes, content model, usage notes, examples, and cross-references.



  • Colorful design: The book uses different colors to highlight different parts of the text, such as keywords, code snippets, tables, and notes. This makes the book more attractive and easier to read.



How to use the book




The book is designed to be used as a quick and convenient reference for XSLT. You can use it in different ways depending on your needs and preferences. Here are some suggestions on how to use the book effectively:


How to read the book




If you are new to XSLT or want to refresh your knowledge of the language, you can read the book from cover to cover. This will give you a solid foundation of XSLT and its components. You can also skip or skim through some sections that are not relevant or interesting to you. Here are some tips on how to read the book:


Chapters overview




The first chapter, XSLT Overview, is a good place to start if you want to get a general idea of what XSLT is and how it works. It explains the basic concepts and terminology of XSLT, such as stylesheets, templates, rules, modes, output formats, and processing models. It also introduces the syntax and structure of XSLT elements and expressions.


The second chapter, XPath Reference, is essential if you want to learn how to select and manipulate XML data in XSLT. It covers all the aspects of XPath, such as nodes, axes, node tests, predicates, operators, functions, variables, and namespaces. It also explains how XPath expressions are evaluated and how they can be used in different contexts in XSLT.


The third chapter, XSLT Elements Reference, is the core of the book if you want to learn how to write XSLT stylesheets. It covers all the elements of XSLT 1.0, grouped into categories such as top-level elements, template elements, instruction elements, literal result elements, extension elements, and deprecated elements. It also includes some elements from XSLT 2.0 and 3.0 that are compatible with XSLT 1.0 or offer useful functionality.


The fourth chapter, XSLT Functions Reference, is useful if you want to learn how to use predefined functions in XSLT expressions. It covers all the functions of XSLT 1.0, grouped into categories such as string functions, boolean functions, number functions, node-set functions, and extension functions. offer useful functionality.


The two appendices, XSLT Processing and XSLT Quick Reference, are helpful if you want to learn how to run XSLT transformations and how to find the information you need quickly. The first appendix explains how to use various tools and environments to apply XSLT stylesheets to XML documents, such as command-line processors, web browsers, IDEs, and online services. The second appendix summarizes the most important information from the book in a handy table format, such as syntax, attributes, usage notes, and examples for each XSLT element and function.


Conventions and symbols




The book uses some conventions and symbols to make the text more readable and understandable. Here are some of them:



  • Code snippets: The book uses a monospaced font and a gray background to indicate code snippets, such as XSLT elements, XPath expressions, XML documents, or output results. For example:



<xsl:template match="book"> <h1><xsl:value-of select="title"/></h1> <p>Author: <xsl:value-of select="author"/></p> <p>Price: <xsl:value-of select="price"/></p> </xsl:template>



  • Keywords: The book uses a bold font to indicate keywords, such as element names, attribute names, function names, or operator symbols. For example:



The xsl:template element defines a rule for transforming a part of an XML document. It has two attributes: match and mode. The match attribute specifies a pattern that selects the nodes to be transformed. The mode attribute specifies a name that groups the templates into different sets.



  • Tables: The book uses tables to present information in a structured and organized way. For example:




Name


Description


Syntax


Example


xsl:value-of


Creates text by evaluating an expression


<xsl:value-of select="expression" />


<xsl:value-of select="title" />


xsl:for-each


Iterates over a node-set and applies templates to each node


<xsl:for-each select="expression">


</xsl:for-each>


<xsl:for-each select="book"> <li><xsl:value-of select="title" /></li> </xsl:for-each>


xsl:if


Tests a condition and applies templates if it is true


<xsl:if test="expression">


</xsl:if>


<xsl:if test="price > 10"> <p>This book is expensive.</p> </xsl:if>


xsl:choose


Tests multiple conditions and applies templates to the first one that is true


<xsl:choose> <xsl:when test="expression">


</xsl:when> <xsl:otherwise>


</xsl:otherwise> </xsl:choose>


<xsl:choose> <xsl:when test="rating = '5'"> <p>This book is excellent.</p> </xsl:when> <xsl:when test="rating = '4'"> <p>This book is good.</p> </xsl:when> <xsl:otherwise> <p>This book is average or below.</p> </xsl:otherwise> </xsl:choose>



  • Notes: The book uses different types of notes to provide additional information or warnings. For example:



Note: The xsl:value-of element creates a text node as a child of the current node. If you want to create an attribute or an element, use the xsl:attribute or xsl:element elements instead.


Tip: You can use the position() function to get the index of the current node in a node-set. For example, <xsl:value-of select="position()" /> will output the number of the current book in the list.


Warning: The xsl:for-each element changes the context node for its content. This means that any relative XPath expressions inside it will be evaluated from the current node, not from the original node. For example, <xsl:value-of select="author" /> inside <xsl:for-each select="book"> will output the author of the current book, not the author of the whole document.


How to apply the book




If you already have some knowledge of XSLT or want to practice your skills, you can use the book as a source of examples and exercises. You can also use the book as a reference for tips and tricks that can help you improve your XSLT code and performance. Here are some tips on how to apply the book:


Examples and exercises




The book provides many examples of XSLT code and output that illustrate how to use different elements, functions, and features of the language. You can use these examples as a starting point for your own XSLT stylesheets or as a way to test your understanding of the concepts. You can also modify these examples or create your own variations to experiment with different scenarios and options.


The book also provides some exercises that challenge you to apply what you have learned and solve some common or interesting problems with XSLT. You can use these exercises as a way to practice your skills and check your solutions against the ones provided in the book. You can also come up with your own exercises or look for some online resources that offer more XSLT challenges.


Tips and tricks




The book provides some tips and tricks that can help you write better and faster XSLT code. Some of these tips and tricks are:



  • Use variables and parameters: You can use variables and parameters to store values that you need to use repeatedly or pass between templates. This can make your code more readable and maintainable, as well as avoid unnecessary calculations or evaluations.



  • Use modes and keys: You can use modes and keys to group templates into different sets or to index nodes by their values. This can make your code more modular and efficient, as well as avoid duplicate or conflicting rules.



  • Use template rules and apply-templates: You can use template rules and apply-templates to define general transformations for different types of nodes or situations. This can make your code more declarative and flexible, as well as avoid explicit loops or conditions.



  • Use built-in templates and default rules: You can use built-in templates and default rules to handle nodes that do not match any of your templates or to copy nodes without changing them. This can make your code more concise and robust, as well as avoid missing or unwanted output.



  • Use extension elements and functions: You can use extension elements and functions to access features or functionality that are not available in standard XSLT. This can make your code more powerful and versatile, as well as solve some specific problems or needs.



Benefits of the book




T and its components. Some of these benefits are:


Learn XSLT quickly and easily




The book can help you learn XSLT quickly and easily by providing you with a clear and concise introduction to the language and its features. You can use the book as a tutorial that teaches you the basics of XSLT and how to use it for various XML transformations. You can also use the book as a review that refreshes your memory of the concepts and syntax of XSLT. The book can help you learn XSLT in a short time and with minimal effort.


Master XML transformations with confidence




The book can help you master XML transformations with confidence by providing you with a complete and comprehensive reference to XSLT and its components. You can use the book as a guide that shows you how to use different elements, functions, and features of XSLT for different purposes and situations. You can also use the book as a resource that answers your questions and doubts about XSLT and its behavior. The book can help you master XML transformations with accuracy and reliability.


Save time and effort with handy reference




The book can help you save time and effort with handy reference by providing you with quick and easy access to important information on XSLT and its components. You can use the book as a tool that helps you find the information you need without having to search online or browse through other books. You can also use the book as a companion that accompanies you wherever you go and whenever you need it. The book can help you save time and effort with convenience and portability.


Conclusion




In this article, we have introduced you to the XSLT 1.0 Pocket Reference book, a concise and practical guide to XSLT that covers everything you need to know to get started with XML transformations. We have explained what XSLT is and why you need it, what the book offers and how to use it, and what benefits you can get from reading it.


Summary of the main points




Here are the main points we have covered in this article:



  • XSLT is a language that allows you to transform XML documents into other formats or structures.



  • The XSLT 1.0 Pocket Reference book is a compact and comprehensive guide to XSLT that covers all the essential aspects of the language in a clear and concise manner.



  • The book has four chapters that provide a complete reference to XPath, XSLT elements, and XSLT functions, as well as an overview of XSLT concepts and features.



  • The book also has two appendices that explain how to use various tools and environments to run XSLT transformations and how to find the information you need quickly.



  • The book has several features that make it an ideal reference for XSLT beginners and experts alike, such as compact size, clear structure, concise content, comprehensive coverage, consistent format, and colorful design.



  • The book can be used in different ways depending on your needs and preferences, such as reading it from cover to cover, using it as a source of examples and exercises, or using it as a reference for tips and tricks.



  • The book has many benefits that can help you learn and master XSLT and its components, such as learning XSLT quickly and easily, mastering XML transformations with confidence, and saving time and effort with handy reference.



Call to action




If you are interested in learning more about XSLT or want to improve your skills in XML transformations, we highly recommend you to get a copy of the XSLT 1.0 Pocket Reference book. You can order it online from Amazon or other retailers, or download it as an ebook from O'Reilly's website. You can also check out some other books or online resources on XSLT that we have listed below.


We hope you have enjoyed this article and found it useful. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to contact us or leave a comment below. Thank you for reading!


FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about the XSLT 1.0 Pocket Reference book:



  • What is the difference between XSLT 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0?



XSLT 1.0 is the first version of the language that was released in 1999 and is still the most widely used and supported version. XSLT 2.0 is the second version of the language that was released in 2007 and offers more features and functionality, such as multiple output formats, regular expressions, grouping, sorting, and schema-awareness. XSLT 3.0 is the latest version of the language that was released in 2017 and offers even more features and functionality, such as streaming, dynamic evaluation, higher-order functions, and JSON support.



  • What are the prerequisites for reading the book?



The book assumes that you have some basic knowledge of XML and its syntax, such as elements, attributes, namespaces, and DTDs. You do not need to have any prior knowledge of XSLT or XPath, as the book will teach you everything you need to know from scratch. However, some familiarity with programming concepts and languages, such as variables, functions, operators, expressions,


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