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XSLT Quickly Paperback – January 1, 2001
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About the Author
Bob DuCharme (http://www.snee.com/bob) is a solutions architect at TopQuadrant, a provider of software for modeling, developing, and deploying semantic web applications. He came to TopQuadrant from Innodata Isogen, where he did system and architecture analysis and design for a wide range of global publishing clients as well as cochairing the 2008 Linked Data Planet conference in New York City. Earlier in his career, he oversaw SGML and XML development at Moody's Investors Service and then moved on to LexisNexis, where he did data and systems architecture as they made the transition to XML-based systems.
In the XML.com newsletter, editor Kendall Clark once wrote “Does anyone write tech prose as clear as Bob?” Bob is the author of Manning Publications’ “XSLT Quickly,” Prentice Hall’s “XML: The Annotated Specification” and “SGML CD,” and McGraw Hill’s “Operating Systems Handbook.” He's written over 70 pieces for XML.com and has contributed to Dr. Dobb’s Journal, IBM developerWorks, Nodalities, DevX, perl.com, XML Magazine, XML Journal, XML Developer, O’Reilly Books’ “XML Hacks,” and Prentice Hall’s “XML Handbook.” Bob received his BA in Religion from Columbia University and his Master’s in Computer Science from New York University. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his wife Jennifer and their daughters Madeline and Alice.
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It talks about the details and fine details, before you know what the big picture is, or what is going on, very much like some textbooks I had back in Asia.
It will be much better if it gives a simple and useful solution to an issue, and then explain the different parts and give big pictures and go top down.
You can try and download that chapter to read it. An example of what I feel is:
Sine and cosine are very simple math functions. But you can explain it so that people don't know what's going on:
1) the simple and easy to understand version: sine gives you a ratio of the length of opposite side of that angle to the hypotenuse of the triangle, for a right angle triangle, so that when we know the angle, then we know the ratio, and if we know one side's length, we can find out the length of the other side. Simple enough?
2) the complex version: sine is a function whereby mapping of an angle, sometimes degree, sometimes radian, is transformed to a number between 0 and 1, inclusive. Coupled with cosine, you have properties of sine squared theta plus cosine squared theta equals one, and all kinds of interested properties. And the smart students will already know there is also tangent, which is not bound between 0 and 1. These are very useful in calculus, and it is a much advanced topic and you will know about it in university or in some cases, in high school. Ok, that's for today, and remember to go home and do your homework.
The book doesn't touch on really advanced concepts like the famous Muenchian grouping, but this is probably outside of XSLT's everyday repertoire and, therefore, outside of this book's mission.
I found myself referring to this book often in JavaRanch's XML forum. Just recently when solving RSS namespace mystery, I posted a part of the stylesheet that prints namespaces (p.99) and here is the response: "That diagnostic transform is worth its weight in gold!"
And I am neither the author nor a member of his family.
While my background is in programming, however i work as a tech writer, Xslt programming was different from what i had seen in the past, and to be honest, i had my doubts about this language and its use with xml at all.
It took me a couple of times to get my mind around xslt but suffice it to say that now i am hooked. XQ presents introductory material as well as features of the language/programming in good sized chunks. The sections are designed so that the reader can skip around if they want to, as well as a straight read. I had purchased an e-book version of the book when i thought i could no longer find my hard copy. (I of course found the hard copy version shortly thereafter.) This worked out well, as i felt much better making notes in the printed out version of the e-book. This is a good option to have.
I feel that XQ has whetted my appetite to learn more about XSLT, while giving me a good foundation on which to work from.
I think XQ can teach you some, simple, yet very powerful idioms within Xslt that you can use immediately. The writing is not dense or boring, yet it is pretty comprehensive. I would certainly recommend this!
Once you feel comfortable with XSLT, use Michael Kay's book for reference and advanced topics.