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XSLT 2.0 and XPath 2.0 Programmer's Reference

XSLT 2.0 and XPath 2.0 Programmer's Reference [Kindle Edition]

Michael Kay
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Combining coverage of both XSLT 2.0 and XPath 2.0, this book is the definitive reference to the final recommendation status versions of both specifications. The authors start by covering the concepts in XSLT and XPath, and then delve into elements, operators, expressions with syntax, usage, and examples. Some of the specific topics covered include XSLT processing model, stylesheet structure, serialization, extensibility, and many others. In addition to online content that includes error codes, the book also has case studies you'll find applicable to your own challenges.

From the Back Cover

Combining coverage of XSLT 2.0 and XPath 2.0 into one book, this authoritative reference provides equal weight to the powerful new features of XSLT 2.0 and XPath 2.0 and the established capabilities of the 1.0 versions. Author Michael Kay has created his own implementation of XSLT 2.0 (Saxon), and he puts his unique knowledge to work in this detailed reference to the elements of the XSLT 2.0 language and the fundamentals of XPath, complete with syntax, practical usage advice, and examples. The book begins by teaching the essential concepts behind the language, knowledge you need if you are going to write good code rather than just working code. You will discover how XSLT and XPath differ from other languages, and how you use them to create effective web–based applications. The central chapters provide meticulous coverage of the language features of XSLT 2.0 and XPath 2.0. You will return to this reference whenever you encounter new programming challenges. You finish with detailed case studies highlighting real applications to give you insights you would otherwise gain only from months of practical experience. What you will learn from this book All the XSLT elements you can use in a stylesheet and the detailed rules for the syntax and semantics of each How Path expressions enable you to navigate around the structure of an XML document How you can improve your stylesheets by taking advantage of the XML Schema definitions of input and output documents How to take advantage of vendor extensions without losing portability Techniques for taking advantage of XSLT to write real applications Who this book is for This book is for experienced programmers who are looking to become proficient with XSLT 2.0. Previous experience with XSLT or XPath is not necessary. However, a working knowledge of XML, HTML, and web architecture is beneficial. Wrox Programmer′s References are designed to give the experienced developer straight facts on a new technology, without hype or unnecessary explanations. They deliver hard information with plenty of practical examples to help you apply new tools to your development projects today.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 7529 KB
  • Print Length: 1372 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0470192747
  • Publisher: Wrox; 4 edition (1 Mar 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #258,906 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good reference material otherwise avoid 23 Nov 2010
By Neil B
As already stated by other reviewers if you want to have one book in your library for XSLT and XPATH this is the one. It goes into a lot of detail about the logic behind these 'languages' and I have not found a better reference manual. However, if like a lot of us you need to pick up XSLT and XPATH quickly to complete a project, then a lot of this text is superfluous and getting to the examples and seeing how it works is hard work. So as a reference book then five stars but as a learning aid then avoid and thus the final rating of three stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A huge improvement 2 Jun 2010
By nickle
A huge improvement over earlier editions.

When it comes to XSLT and XPATH, it's difficult to know where to start. That's where this book scores. In particular the introductory chapters and Chapter 12 on XSLT patterns give a solid skeleton on which to hang other features. The rest of the book is a solid reference guide. In addition the hard cover version means that pages are less likely to drop out.

So if you are going to buy one XSTL/XPATH book, make this the one.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Very comprehensive 8 Aug 2013
By Smot
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A weighty tome with good examples and text, possibly not as useful as a reference, but certainly good as a teaching aid.
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Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book has reminded me of the importance of well-written books about computer programming, even with today's vast quantity of high quality technical info on the web. Michael Kay puts XSLT firmly into context, which is particularly important for a programming language that is unlike most. Experienced programmers should not be put off by the description "Programmer's Reference" - there's lots more than reference material here. Inexperienced programmers should probably look elsewhere if they are looking for a tutorial on XSLT.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive reference 8 May 2008
By J. Bogaarts - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
You won't easily find a better book on XSLT 2.0 and XPath 2.0. The reason is very simple: Michael Kay is THE expert on the subject, he has been publishing xslt references for almost a decade now. Currently he is the editor of the XSLT 2.0 specification at W3C. He is also involved the XQuery and the XML Schema Working Groups, also at W3C. He has developed the Saxon XSLT processor. This book (like its predecessors were and its future versions will be) is the definitive reference on XSLT.

The third edition was in two separate books, one on XSLT 2.0 (XSLT 2.0 Programmer's Reference (Programmer to Programmer)) and one on XPath 2.0 (XPath 2.0 Programmer's Reference (Programmer to Programmer)). If you are serious about XSLT 2.0, you also need the information on XPath 2.0, as it is a sub language of XSLT 2.0. So you would need both books at hand. The current book contains all of the material available in the two predecessors, and more.

I could have survived on the two books, but tired of taking them from my office to my home and vice versa, I ordered the new edition and I am enjoying it very much. After using the new edition for a week or so I have come upon quite a few improvements, for instance the chapter on regular expressions contains more information and is better structured. Examples have been updated and as have been the appendices covering the processors. There is a new appendix on the Altova processor.

I should also mention the quality of the paper, the binding and the price, they are much better than the two previous books together.

As a reference, the book is complete. It contains a clear description of all the elements of the standards and lots of (tested) examples. There is also much material about the design backgrounds of both standards (and of others like XML Schema and XQuery).

The book is extremely well written and a joy to read.

The book is aimed at developers and should not be used as a first introduction to XML transformation technology (unless you are an experienced programmer). If you need an introduction to XSLT (in its context) check out one of the other Wrox books like Beginning XML, 4th Edition (Programmer to Programmer) or Professional XML (Programmer to Programmer). One could also try Beginning XSLT 2.0: From Novice to Professional (Beginning: from Novice to Professional), it has good reviews. In any case if you are seriously interested (even as a newbie) don't buy anything from before 2004, it will not include the 2.0 functionalities. If you buy something published after 2004 check that they really updated the book and not only the title.

Recently O'Reilly has issued an update of tidwell's XSLT, 2nd Edition. I could be worthwhile to consider this book also.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Usable as a Kindle Book 10 Oct 2011
By P. Broyles - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a review specifically of the Kindle edition. I have used the print version of this book, and it's a great reference. It's a bulky, heavy book, so I decided to purchase a Kindle copy that would be more portable. Unfortunately, the Kindle version is a disaster, and I recommend it to no one.

After the Table of Contents, the book uses hyperlinks rarely if at all. Cross-references from one section of the book to another are not hyperlinked; they still list the original page number, with no way to jump to the appropriate section. Likewise, the index features no links (and no page numbers) at all. The index to the Kindle edition is basically a list of all the topics covered in the book with no way to access any of those topics.

This makes the book hard to use as a reference. For instance, it's really hard to look up an XPath function. One long chapter contains an entry for each XPath function. The Table of Contents does not list the individual functions. The list that's found at the start of the chapter shows page numbers rather than hyperlinks. The index entry for the function doesn't have a link. That leaves you with two ways to look up the function you want. One is to use the search feature. That's great if the function has an unusual name, but a search for a function name like "document" returns far too many hits to be helpful. Or, you can flip through the pages in the chapter one by one until you find the page you're looking for--which takes longer than just leafing through the print book.

As reviews of the print edition will tell you, this isn't a book you're likely to sit down and read from beginning to end. You'll want to use the book to look up the details on specific functions, elements, or techniques. But because this book hasn't been optimized for the Kindle, it will be almost impossible to find what you want efficiently. Avoid the Kindle edition at all costs; stick to the print version for your XSLT/XPath reference.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The authoritative reference updated and improved 5 Jun 2008
By Wendell Piez - Published on
Everyone working seriously with XSLT will want this book. The fourth edition is newly updated and improved. Not only has it been corrected to reflect the design of the current XSLT and XPath specifications (which were not final when the 3rd edition went to press), but also it has been redesigned for usability, with much better indexes and navigation apparatus. No more casting about to find things (although you may still not resist a few post-it notes here and there). XSLT and XPath are now in one volume (a big plus); the lighter pages and hard cover make the book serviceable as a reference text in regular use. It sits open and will wear well (provided you use it for its intended purpose and not as a coaster for your drink, which will be tempting since the book will be there open on your desk).

But the book's strengths are unchanged. Complete and comprehensive, coherent, realistic, clear, with worked examples. No one knows this technology better than the author, who has served on the XSL Working Group and edited the XSLT 2.0 Recommendation. Long-time observers will also confirm that he is also one of the best in the business at explaining things.

The only thing less than positive to say about this book is that beginners may find it intimidating. Don't. Just supplement it with a treatment aimed at you such as XSLT 1.0 Pocket Reference (Pocket Reference (O'Reilly)) or anything by Jeni Tennison, and keep the Programmer's Reference ready for the summary comprehensive view, or when you need to go deep.

I have seen many decrepit copies of earlier editions of this book used by industry professionals. This one looks to be good for a long time to come.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Annotated Reference Manual for XSLT and XPath 8 July 2011
By Ben Hekster - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It's tricky to judge the quality of a book in a field with which you're unfamiliar. One technique I've used is using common sense to find various kinds of errors-- and a good sign of this book is that each time I thought I'd caught the author in a mistake, further study always proved me wrong. I eventually ended up reading this book practically cover to cover and soaking up as much as I could.

This book has no fluff or cutesy humor. The writing is precise, to the point, and anticipated my questions. There is some repetition (for example, on the topic of namespaces), making the book in my mind very useful as a reference. The author's obvious familiarity with the standard itself and its various implementations reveals itself in the many clarifying annotations.

Some of the examples are very elaborate and thorough and serve to clarify the complexities of the technology where needed-- for example, regarding the subtleties of the 'for' and 'number' family of instructions.

If there are any deficiencies in the book at all, they are minor. One irritation is the author's prejudice towards Java (granted that XSLT and XPath themselves seem more comfortable in that domain); for example, calling C++ "procedural" or claiming that Java popularized IEEE 754 (neglecting phenomenal implementations such as SANE that predated Java by a decade). This didn't really distract from the value of the book, other than that an entire appendix is devoted to JAXP while there is not a single mention of libxslt2-- making me wonder for a while whether the technologies described in this book were applicable to the problem I was trying to solve (they were).

There are mentions of efficiencies that can be obtained with "a good optimizer," but with only my personal suspicion that only the author's own implementation supports them I'd still have some work to do if I wanted to evaluate the differences between them.

In using the book I did often find myself confused over which parts applied to the 2.0 versions of XSLT/XPath-- and while the book does define that specifically, a clearer typographical separation would have been helpful. This problem obviously will become less relevant as the later versions become more widely supported.

On the topic of the technologies themselves, I've become even more convinced of the absurdity of any kind of executable XML. Also, the melding together of two intentionally separate languages (XSLT vs XPath) with different type systems and other complex relationships appears to have no obvious practical advantage. Finally, if the object of one-based counting was to make the technology more accessible, the actual effect to me was to make it that much less so.

In a nutshell, I have no qualms whatsoever recommending this book to a wide audience. It's extremely thorough, well-written and organized, and authoritative.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Definately a Reference Book 20 Oct 2008
By E. B. Phillips - Published on
It is considerably useful, but please bear in mind that it is organized as a reference book. It doesn't slowly build up your understanding like a textbook approach, but rather lays it on thickly like molasses.
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