XSLT: Working with XML and HTML
Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformation (XSLT) is quickly becoming a hot computing topic, garnering the same spike of enthusiasm as other popular computing paradigms. It is with good reason, because the promise of manipulating a single source of XML data into multiple output formats sounds a lot like the elusive write once, read anywhere mantra that other technologies have advertised.
Khun Yee Fung has written a straightforward, well-paced introductory text about the XML-based syntax. XSLT appears to target an academic audience, because it presents a dry, textbook-like progression of the concepts. The most valuable portion of the book is Part III, "Idioms and Tips," because it provides the author's real-world lessons from working on more than 50 XSLT-related projects. The HTML, XSLT, and XML code examples are printed in their entirety, and are included on the accompanying CD-ROM.
That said, the book does have problems. It's not written for application developers, and its paltry three-page appendix on XSLT tools and Web resources shows its age. The chapter on using Formatting Objects and Scalable Vector Graphics is too brief to be useful, and omits which libraries and parsers should be used to transform the data after it's been formatted. Fung occasionally abdicates his responsibility to further describe XSLT-related issues by stating he would leave such explorations to other books. Clearly, Mr. Fung's objectives were merely to present XSLT syntax, simple examples, and a basic case study using these introductory contexts.
XSLT provides a fair introduction to the subject, but developers seeking help with application-centric requirements need to look elsewhere.
- Mike Riley
XSLT: Working with XML and HTML by Khun Yee Fung, Addison-Wesley, http://www.awl.com/cseng.
Cover Price: US$39.95
(464 pages, CD-ROM)