REVIEW - XSLT Cookbook


XSLT Cookbook


Sal Mangano



O'Reilly (2002)




Rick Stones


August 2003



This is another book in O'Reilly's 'Cookbook' series, which borrow from the ideas of patterns and present a series of problems, solutions and explanations of the solutions. The problems are grouped into chapters such as 'Dates and Times', 'Selecting and Traversing' and so on. There are just over a hundred recipes in this book, ranging from some just a few lines long, to a few that are three pages long.

I found the level of this book a bit higher than the Perl Cookbook (an excellent book) and the examples longer. If you are a beginner to XSLT you will find all but the simplest examples somewhat challenging; at the other end of the scale I think even experts will find some of the transforms presented challenging. The preface says that the final chapter 'pushes the XSLT envelope' and I certainly would not disagree.

Apart from that caveat to beginners, this book is a powerful reference work. The problems tackled are well chosen, the solutions elegant and the explanations carefully and clearly explained, though as before not aimed at novices. The author also points out where alternative solutions exist and explains what makes a 'better' solution. Some of the solutions appear in two or more forms, for example there is a simple XML to CSV converter specific to the source file, which is very easy to follow, but this is followed by a generic, general purpose transform, which is in turn followed by one handing sparse mapping. This layered approach to presenting ever-improving solutions helps considerably with the understanding.Methodologies& Practices

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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