Occasional XSLT for Experienced Software Developers

FIrst published in 2004 in DevX

Although using XSLT to process XML is increasingly common, most developers still use it only occasionally—and often treat it as just another procedural language. But that's not the best way to use XSLT. Learn how to simplify and improve your XSLT processing using event-driven and declarative techniques.

XML appears in some form in most modern applications—and often needs to be transformed from one form into another: merged, split, massaged, or simply reformatted into HTML. In most cases, it's far more robust and efficient to use XSLT to perform such transformations than to use common programming languages such as Java, VB.NET, or C#. But because XSLT is an add-on rather than a core language, most developers use XSLT only occasionally, and have neither time nor resources to dive into the peculiarities of XSLT development or to explore the paradigms of functional and flow-driven programming that efficient use of XSLT requires.

Such occasional use carries the danger of abusing programming techniques suitable for mainstream languages such as Java, C and Python, but that can lead to disastrous results when applied to XSLT.

However, you can avoid the problems of occasional use by studying a few applications of different well-known programming problems to an XSLT programming task through this set of simple, thoroughly explained exercises.