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XSLT Jumpstarter: Level the Learning Curve and Put Your XML to Work


Cover image for XSLT Jumpstarter

XSLT Jumpstarter

Level the Learning Curve and Put Your XML to Work


Finally, a ground-up, quick-start approach to XSLT that teaches not just the language, but XML processing solutions. XSLT Jumpstarter approaches the subject like no other book, using examples that ease you through the basic concepts while demonstrating how to solve common problems. It doesn’t unload language elements on you, it shows how to create HTML output, rearrange and modify XML nodes, manipulate text, conditionalize processing, make global changes, perform grouping and sorting, and implement strategies for re-using templates and stylesheets. XSLT Jumpstarter offers a hands-on, jump-in-the-water approach that will launch you over the XSLT learning curve!

This work was written and produced entirely by the author. We are proud to be distributing it.

About this Title

Pages: 272
Published: 2015-05-20
Release: P1.0 (2015-05-18)
ISBN: 978-0-9134-6503-5

Get your XML under control with XSLT Jumpstarter. XML is everywhere in data and web technology, and XSLT was created specifically to transform XML into all kinds of text output, including HTML, XML, SVG, and others. You’ll start with example solutions that introduce the range of XSLT possibilities. You’ll get the processing concepts behind XSLT; how to create and manipulate output; how to make global changes to XML; how to use conditional instructions, XPath, and XSLT functions for complex controls; how to sort and group your output; and techniques for large-scale stylesheet management.

Using a browser-based XSLT processor, you’ll immediately transform XML with no setup time. You’ll set up a stand-alone XSLT processor controlled from the command line. You’ll get a clear view into the basic XSLT processing model so you can put it to work. Throughout the book, you’ll see elements of XSLT working together in solutions to common XML processing problems. And you’ll get a thorough analysis of the solutions, giving you the understanding to modify examples or create your own XSLT from scratch.

This is not another XSLT reference, but an accessible guide that gets your hands dirty with a solution-oriented approach. Filled with practical examples and detailed explanations, this book is designed to kickstart the XSLT newbie into action.

What You Need

  • A web browser
  • Saxon 6.5.5
  • A text editor or XML editor

Contents & Extracts

  • Foreword
  • Preface
    • Why a New Book on XSLT?
    • A Little about Me
    • A Little about You!
    • What You’ll Need for This Book
    • About the Examples
    • A Word about the Epigraphs
    • Acknowledgments
    • Jumpstart!
  • Introducing XSLT
    • A Purpose Under Heaven
    • Presto Change-o
    • The World of an XSLT Processor
    • XSLT Processing
    • What’s in This Book
  • XSLT in Action
  • Installing, Testing, and Using a Stand-Alone XSLT
    • What Processors Are Out There?
    • Installation
    • Testing
    • Using the Command Line
    • What We Did
  • Beginning with the End: Creating Output
    • Reaping the Flow: Built-in Template Rules
    • Fine Tuning the Output with xsl:value-of
    • More Is Better: Supplying Our Own Text
    • Adding Tags and Attributes as Text
    • Adding Elements and Attributes Dynamically
    • What We Did
  • Filtering with the Identity Transform
    • Output Equals Input: the Simplest Identity Transform
    • Variation on a Theme #1: Removing All Tags
    • Variation on a Theme #2: Omitting Content
    • Variation on a Theme #3: Using a Function to Uppercase the Text
    • Variation on a Theme #4: Changing One Word to Another
    • What We Did
  • Changing the Structure and Order of Content
    • Tidying Up Verbose XML
    • Changing Elements from Children to Siblings
    • Wrapping Tags in Other Tags
    • Adding structure to flat lists
    • Play It as It Lays
    • What We Did
  • XPath: The Sibling Language
    • XPath: Mapping XML All Over the Place
    • XPath in a Thimble
    • The Data Model
    • Location Paths
    • Functions
    • Expressions
    • What We Did
  • Using XPath to Change the Order of Documents
    • Putting XPath to Work
    • Writing the List-Buster: Part 2
    • What Else We’ll Do in This Chapter
    • “Pull” Processing: Empirical Processing with XSLT
    • XPaths to Anywhere
    • Grouping
    • Sort of a Short Sortie on Sorting
    • What We Did
  • The Value of Values
    • Value Types
    • Variables
    • Parameters and xsl:call-template
    • Generated Values
    • Putting It All Together with Recursion
    • What We Did
  • Large-Scale Stylesheet Strategies
    • Looking Beyond the Template to Stylesheet Structure
    • Global Controls in the Stylesheet
    • Passing Data into the Stylesheet with Parameters
    • Output Controls
    • Attribute Sets
    • Using External Stylesheets
    • Adding Instructions in the Output
    • Calls to External Programs with XSLT Extensions
    • External Data Files—-Input and Output
    • What We Did
  • Troubleshooting
    • It Just Doesn’t Work
    • I Get Output, But It’s Not What I Want
    • Building Debug Helpers
    • What We Did
    • Congratulations!
  • XSLT 1.0 Element Reference
    • Alphabetical List of Elements
    • Elements by Functional Category
    • Syntax of the Elements
  • Function and Expression Operator Reference
    • Alphabetical List of Functions
    • Functions by Return Type
    • Summary of Functions
    • Expression Operators


David James Kelly has worked in technical publications for many years as a writer, manager, and technology developer. His nine years of experience with XSLT includes conversions of XML documents as well as customizations of the DITA Open Toolkit and other publishing systems. In addition to writing technical books, David has published three novels.