Welcome to the world of Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations, XSLT. This book is your guided tour to that world, which is large and expanding in unpredictable ways every minute. In this book, were going to make that world your world. Theres a lot of territory to cover, because these days XSLT is getting into the most amazing places, and in the most amazing ways. And youre going to see all of it at work in this book.
XSLT is all about handling and formatting the contents of XML documents (the companion volume to this book is Inside XML , New Riders, 2000). XML has become a very hot topic, and now its XSLTs turn . XML enables you to structure the data in documents, and XSLT enables you to work with the contents of XML documentsmanipulating the content and creating other documents, such as when you sort an XML employee records database or store that data in an HTML document, as well as format that data in a detailed way.
You can work with the contents of XML documents by writing your own programs that interface to XML parser applications, but that involves writing your own code. With XSLT, on the other hand, you can perform the same kinds of tasks , and theres no programming required. Rather than write your own Java, Visual Basic, or C++ to handle the contents of XML documents, you just use XSLT to specify what you want to do, and an XSLT processor does the rest. Thats what XSLT is all about, and its become the next big thing in the XML world.