Introduction to XSLT

Download training document course in PDF intituled Introduction to XSLT, free tutorial for beginners by Deborah Aleyne Lapeyre and B. Tommie Usdin.

Table of contents

  • What is XSLT
  • The Basics of XSLT
  • Sample XSLT Transforms
  • XSLT Application
  • XML Document
  • Introduction to XSLT Concepts
  • Single Source and Reuse Publishing
  • Construct the Output for Publishing
  • What You Want in the Order You Want It
  • There is Not Just One Print Product
  • Some of the Text is Added by the Transform
  • Large Structures Can be Built and Inserted as Well
  • XSLT is Also Useful During Production
  • XML for Interchange and Archiving
  • XSLT as the Middle Component in XSL-FO
  • How XSL-FO Works
  • Architecture of a Full XSL System (XSLT + XSL-FO)
  • Formatting Objects Describe Page Layout
  • XPath Has Two Main Uses
  • You’ve Seen XPath in match Expressions
  • XPath Can Be Very Complex
  • Another Complexity: Push-me Pull-you Stylesheets
  • What is a Pull Stylesheet?
  • Why Pull Can Be a Problem
  • How to Deal with XSLT and (November )
  • How to Make XSLT Programmers
  • XSLT is Also Really Easy But
  • How to Learn XSLT
  • XSLT Technical Reference Book
  • Useful XSLT Reference Website: Zvon
  • XSLT Concept/Syntax Books

Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) is a formal recommendation made by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) as a language for styling expression. It complements Extensible Markup Language (XML) by providing methods for formatting content written in XML. One of the main purposes of XML was to separate the content and its semantic markup from its formatting, so that formatting can be applied independently. An XSL style sheet describes the formatting that can be applied to XML files using an XSL parser.

Style Sheets are now an open source project maintained on SourceForge. The style sheet distribution consists of a collection of modular XSL files assembled into multiple XSL style sheets. There is one style sheet for generating a single HTML file and another for generating multiple smaller HTML files from a single document. There are style sheets for print output, XHTML output, HTML help output, and JavaHelp output. The style sheet collection is freely available for download. Because XSL analyzers exist for all major types of computers, you can use it on Unix, Linux, Windows, and Macintosh computers.

This webpage presents a set of documents for learning how to use and customize XSL stylesheets. It unlocks the power of these style sheets by documenting all their features and making them easy to use.

XSL analyzers

An XSL parser is the software that transforms an XML file into formatted output. There is a growing list of XSL analyzers to choose from. Each tool implements all or part of the XSL standard, which actually has several components:

XSL standards

Extensible Style Sheet Language (XSL): A language for expressing style sheets written in XML. It includes the XSL formatting object language (XSL-FO), but refers to separate documents for the transformation language and the path language.
XSL Transformation (XSLT): The part of XSL to transform XML documents into other XML, HTML or text documents. It can be used to rearrange content and generate new content.

XML Path Language (XPath): A language for addressing parts of an XML document. It is used to find the parts of your document to apply different styles. All XSL parsers use this component.
To publish HTML code from your XML documents, you just need an XSLT parser. It will include XPath as it is widely used in XSLT. To print, you need an XSLT parser to produce an intermediate formatting object (FO) file, and then you need an XSL-FO parser to produce a PostScript or PDF output from the FO file.

XSLT analyzers

Currently, three analyzers are widely used for XSLT processing because they are very close to the XSLT specification:

Saxon written in Java by Michael Kay, author of XSLT Reference)
Xalan is part of the Apache XML project. It has versions written in both Java and C ++, both free)
xsltproc written in C by Daniel Veillard. 

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