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This book focuses on the details of how XSLT in particular can be used to mold information on the fly. The author breaks the standard apart into digestible chapters that cover, say, "contextual formatting" and "sorting." The content is fast moving and demands a technical reader who is comfortable with complexity. Those who are new to XML technologies should pick up a general tutorial prior to tackling this book.
Along with text explanations of all of the magic that XSLT and XSL can do, the author uses code snippets and numerous graphical diagrams to illustrate information processing, layout, and tree navigation. These visual elements add much to the explanation of what otherwise would be abstract concepts indeed.
The author addresses head-on the fact that much of XSLT's job today is to turn XML data into HTML-formatted documents that are compatible with the current batch of browsers. There is plenty of focus in this book on how that is done, but the chief purpose remains the exploration of the powerful transformation and formatting features that the XSL standards provide. --Stephen W. Plain