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XSLT/XPath reference becomes 'real'

Why this reference is important.

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XSLT/XPath reference becomes "real"
Ed Tittel

In a previous tip on XSLT, I'd already mentioned the outstanding work from the guys at Crane Softwrights Ltd. on that subject. In this tip, I'm pleased to report that not only has this group kept up their great work, they've made a deal with Prentice Hall to bring this book to print. Entitled Definitive XLST and XPath, by G. Ken Holman, the book belongs to the Charles F. Goldfarb Definitive XML Series (Goldfarb is one of the original developers of SGML, and a progenitor of the whole XML phenomenon; this series includes some truly valuable XML titles, of which this one is among the best).

Given all the information about XSLT and XPath that's readily available online through the W3C, from Crane Softwrights itself (their Web site at is currently out of commission, but you can still find pointers to resources, courses, and training materials there), and at, among many other locations, why is a book like this of interest to XML professionals?

I can answer this question in three distinct ways, where each answer helps explain a different aspect of the book's value proposition:

  • Its layout and organization make it particularly useful as a reference, when specific matters of syntax, function calls and arguments, and so forth, must be found.
  • The book remains a more portable and accessible way to learn and master this kind of information, particularly when away from a computer or network access.
  • As a separate reference, this book also works well at the keyboard to provide a sideband assistance channel for important information while the computer (or its user) may be busy doing other things.

In short, because it's a compact, accessible reference, the book works well to help beginners learn about XSLT and XPath. Even better, because it's easy to use as a jog to memory or to refresh hazy knowledge or concepts, the book works well to help experience professionals write clean, effective XSLT and XPath markup.

Even better, although the book lists for nearly US $45, it's regularly discounted.

About the Author

Ed Tittel is a principal at LANWrights, Inc., a network-oriented writing, training, and consulting firm based in Austin, Texas. He is the creator of the Exam Cram series and has worked on over 30 certification-related books on Microsoft, Novell, and Sun related topics. Ed teaches in the Certified Webmaster Program at Austin Community College and consults. He a member of the NetWorld + Interop faculty, where he specializes in Windows 2000 related courses and presentations.

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