Chapter 23. XSLT Reference

CONTENTS

  •  23.1 The XSLT Namespace
  •  23.2 XSLT Elements
  •  23.3 XSLT Functions
  •  23.4 TrAX

Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT) is a functional programming language used to specify how an input XML document is converted into another text document possibly, though not necessarily, another XML document. An XSLT processor reads both an input XML document and an XSLT stylesheet (which is itself an XML document because XSLT is an XML application) and produces a result tree as output. This result tree may then be serialized into a file or written onto a stream. Documents can be transformed using a standalone program or as part of a larger program that communicates with the XSLT processor through its API.

23.1 The XSLT Namespace

All standard XSLT elements are in the http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform namespace. In this chapter, we assume that this URI is mapped to the xsl prefix using an appropriate xmlns:xsl declaration somewhere in the stylesheet. This mapping is normally declared on the root element like this:

<xsl:stylesheet version="1.0"                 xmlns:xsl="http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform">   <!-- XSLT top-level elements go here --> </xsl:stylesheet>

23.2 XSLT Elements

XSLT defines 37 elements, which break down into 3 overlapping categories:

  • Two root elements:

    xsl:stylesheet xsl:transform
  • 12 top-level elements. These elements may appear as immediate children of the root and are the following:

    xsl:attribute-set          xsl:decimal-format xsl:import                 xsl:include xsl:key                    xsl:namespace-alias xsl:output                 xsl:param xsl:preserve-space         xsl:strip-space xsl:template               xsl:variable
  • 23 instruction elements. These elements appear in the content of elements that contain templates. Here we don't mean the xsl:template element. We mean the content of that and several other elements, such as xsl:for-each and xsl:message, which are composed of literal result elements, character data, and XSLT instructions that are processed to produce part of the result tree. These elements are as follows:

    xsl:apply-imports          xsl:apply-templates xsl:attribute              xsl:call-template xsl:choose                 xsl:comment xsl:copy                   xsl:copy-of xsl:element                xsl:fallback xsl:for-each               xsl:if xsl:message                xsl:number xsl:otherwise              xsl:param xsl:processing-instruction xsl:sort xsl:text                   xsl:value-of xsl:variable               xsl:with-param xsl:when

Most XSLT processors also provide various nonstandard extension elements and allow you to write your own extension elements in languages such as Java and JavaScript.

Elements in this section are arranged alphabetically from xsl:apply-imports to xsl:with-param. Each element begins with a synopsis in the following form:

<xsl:elementName    attribute1 = "allowed attribute values"    attribute2 = "allowed attribute values" >   <!-- Content model --> </xsl:elementName>

Most attribute values are one of the following types:

expression

An XPath expression. In cases where the expression is expected to return a value of a particular type, such as node-set or number, it is prefixed with the type and a hyphen, for example, node-set-expression or number-expression. However, XPath is weakly typed, and in most cases, any supplied type will be converted to the requested type. For instance, an attribute that should contain a string might in fact contain a number or a node-set. The processor automatically converts this number or set to a string, according to the rules given in the last chapter for XPath's string( ) function. The only exception to this rule is node-set-expression. XSLT does not convert other types to node-sets automatically. If an attribute requires a node-set-expression, then it is an error to set its value to another type of expression such as a boolean or string.

QualifiedName

An XML name, such as set or mathml:set. If the name is in a nondefault namespace, then it has a prefix.

PrefixedName

An XML name that must have a prefix such as mathml:set but not set.

pattern

An XSLT pattern; that is, a group of one or more XPath location-path expressions separated by |. in which each location step uses only the child or attribute axis. The initial step may be an id( ) or key( ) function call with a literal argument.

langcode

An RFC 1766 language code, such as en or fr-CA.

string

A literal string of text.

char

A single Unicode character.

enumerated type

One value in a finite list of values. The values shown here are separated by vertical bars, as in an enumerated content model in an ATTLIST declaration.

URI

A relative or absolute URI reference. In practice, these are normally URLs. Relative URIs are relative to the location of the stylesheet itself.

Some attributes that contain strings whether those strings are literals, expressions, names, or something else can be given as attribute value templates. This is an XPath expression enclosed in curly braces, which is evaluated to provide the final value of the attribute. When this is the case, it is indicated in the description of each attribute.

Potentially nonempty elements have content models given in a comment in the form they might appear in an ELEMENT declaration. If an element can contain a template, we use the word "template" to stand in for all the possible elements that may appear.

xsl:apply-imports  

<xsl:apply-imports /> 
 

The xsl:apply-imports instruction processes the current node using only templates that were imported into the stylesheet with xsl:import. A template rule that overrides a template rule in an imported stylesheet can invoke the overridden template rule with xsl:apply-imports.

xsl:apply-templates  

<xsl:apply-templates   select = "node-set-expression"   mode   = "QualifiedName">   <! --  (xsl:sort | xsl:with-param)*  -- > </xsl:apply-templates> 
 

The xsl:apply-templates instruction tells the processor to search for and apply the highest-priority template in the stylesheet that matches each node identified by the select attribute.

Attributes

select, optional

This is an XPath expression that returns a node-set. Each node in this set will be processed further. If the select attribute is omitted, then all child nodes of the context node should be processed.

mode, optional

If the mode attribute is present, then only templates that have a matching mode attribute will be applied. If the mode attribute is absent, then only templates without a mode attribute will be applied.

Contents

The xsl:apply-templates element may have xsl:sort child elements to specify the order in which the selected nodes will be processed. Without any xsl:sort children, the default is to process nodes in document order.

The xsl:apply-templates element may have xsl:with-param child elements to pass parameter values to the matched templates.

xsl:attribute  

<xsl:attribute   name      = "QualifiedName"   namespace = "URI">   <! --  template for the attribute value  -- > </xsl:attribute> 
 

The xsl:attribute instruction adds an attribute to an element in the result tree. This element can be a child of an xsl:attribute-set element, an xsl:element instruction, or a literal result element. In each case, all xsl:attribute elements must precede all literal result elements and other instructions that insert content into the output element.

Attributes

name, required, attribute value template

The name of the attribute this instruction creates.

namespace, optional, attribute value template

The namespace URI of the attribute. If a nonempty namespace URI is specified, then the processor will pick an appropriate prefix for the attribute, probably but not necessarily the one used in the name attribute.

Contents

The contents of this element are a template whose instantiation only produces text nodes. The value of the attribute added to the result tree is determined by instantiating the template.

xsl:attribute-set  

<xsl:attribute-set   name = "QualifiedName"   use-attribute-sets = "QualifiedNames">   <! --  xsl:attribute*  -- > </xsl:attribute-set> 
 

The xsl:attribute-set top-level element defines a collection of attributes that can be applied to elements elsewhere in the stylesheet. For instance, you could define an attribute set that includes the necessary attributes to create a simple XLink, and then you could attach the set to each simple XLink element.

Attributes

name, required

The name attribute gives a name for the set, by which xsl:element and other xsl:attribute-set elements can load this attribute set.

use-attribute-sets, optional

The use-attribute-sets attribute adds attributes from a different attribute set into this attribute set. More than one attribute set can be loaded by separating multiple names with whitespace. The attributes defined in all loaded sets and all attributes defined by child xsl:attribute elements are merged so that no attribute appears in the set more than once. It is an error if an attribute set uses itself directly or indirectly.

Contents

This element contains zero or more xsl:attribute elements. Each such element adds one attribute to the set.

xsl:call-template  

<xsl:call-template    name = "QualifiedName">    <! --  xsl:with-param*  -- > </xsl:call-template> 
 

The xsl:call-template instruction invokes a template by name. The current node and context node list are the same for the called template as for the calling template. Templates may be called recursively; an xsl:template element may contain an xsl:call-template element that calls that very xsl:template element. This technique is useful for doing things you'd accomplish with loops in a traditional procedural programming language.

Attributes

name, required

The name of the xsl:template element to call.

Contents

This element contains zero or more xsl:with-param elements that pass parameters to the named template.

xsl:choose  

<xsl:choose>   <! --  (xsl:when+, xsl:otherwise?)  -- > </xsl:choose> 
 

The xsl:choose element selects zero or one of a sequence of alternatives.

Contents

This element contains one or more xsl:when elements, each of which has a test condition. The contents are output for the first xsl:when child whose test condition is true.

The xsl:choose element may have an optional xsl:otherwise element whose contents are output only if none of the test conditions in any of the xsl:when elements is true.

If no xsl:otherwise element exists and none of the test conditions in any of the xsl:when child elements is true, then this element will not produce output.

xsl:comment  

<xsl:comment>   <! --  template  -- > </xsl:comment> 
 

The xsl:comment instruction inserts a comment into the result tree.

Contents

The content of xsl:comment is a template that will be instantiated to form the text of the comment inserted into the result tree. The result of instantiating this template must only be text nodes that do not contain the double hyphen (--) (since comments cannot contain the double hyphen).

xsl:copy  

<xsl:copy   use-attribute-sets = "QualifiedName1 QualifiedName2...">   <! --  template  -- > </xsl:copy> 
 

The xsl:copy element copies the current node from the source document into the output document. It copies the node itself and any namespace nodes the node possesses. However, it does not copy the node's children or attributes.

Attributes

use-attribute-sets, optional

A whitespace-separated list of xsl:attribute-set names. These attribute sets are merged, and all attributes in the merged set are added to the copied element. The use-attribute-sets attribute can be used only when the copied node is an element node.

Contents

If the current node is an element node, attributes can be added via xsl:attribute children. If the current node is the root node or an element node (a node that can have children), then xsl:copy may contain a template that specifies the content of the element inserted into the result tree. All xsl:attribute elements must precede the output template.

xsl:copy-of  

<xsl:copy-of    select = "expression" /> 
 

The xsl:copy-of instruction inserts whatever is identified by the select attribute into the output document. This instruction copies the specific nodes identified by the expression, as well as all those nodes' children, attributes, namespaces, and descendants. This is how it differs from xsl:copy: if the expression selects something other than a node-set or a result-tree fragment, such as a number, then the expression is converted to its string value and the string is output.

Attributes

select, required

An XPath expression identifying the object to copy into the result tree.

xsl:decimal-format  

<xsl:decimal-format    name               = "QualifiedName">    decimal-separator  = "char"    grouping-separator = "char"    infinity           = "string"    minus-sign         = "char"    NaN                = "string"    percent            = "char"    per-mille          = "char"    zero-digit         = "char"    digit              = "char"    pattern-separator  = "char" /> 
 

The xsl:decimal-format top-level element defines a pattern by which the format-number( ) function can convert floating point numbers into text strings. The defaults work well for English, but details may change for other languages and locales, such as French or Chinese.

Attributes

name, optional

The string by which the format-number( ) function identifies the xsl:decimal-format element to use. If this attribute is omitted, then this element establishes the default decimal format used by the format-number( ) function.

decimal-separator, optional

The character that separates the integer part from the fractional point in a floating point number. This character is a period (decimal point) in English and a comma in French. It may be something else in other languages.

grouping-separator, optional

The character that separates groups of digits (e.g., the comma that separates every three digits in English).

infinity, optional

The string that represents IEEE 754 infinity; Infinity by default.

minus-sign, optional

The character prefixed to negative numbers; a hyphen by default.

NaN, optional

The string that represents IEEE 754 Not a Number; NaN by default.

percent, optional

The character that represents a percent; % by default.

per-mille, optional

The character that represents a per mille; figs/u2030.gif by default.

zero-digit, optional

The character that represents zero; 0 by default. Digits 1 through 9 will be represented by the nine subsequent Unicode values after this one. For instance, setting zero-digit to A would set 1 to B, 2 to C, 3 to D, and so on. This is also the character used to represent 0 in format patterns.

digit, optional

The character that represents a digit in a format pattern; # by default.

pattern-separator, optional

The character that separates positive and negative subpatterns in a format pattern; ; by default.

xsl:element  

<xsl:element   name               = "QualifiedName"   namespace          = "URI"   use-attribute-sets = "QualifiedName1 QualifiedName2...">   <! --  template  -- > </xsl:element> 
 

The xsl:element instruction inserts an element into the result tree. The element's name is given by the name attribute. The element's namespace URI, if any, is given by the optional namespace attribute. Attributes can be added via xsl:attribute children or by referencing an xsl:attribute-set declared elsewhere in the stylesheet from the use-attribute-sets attribute. Finally, the element's contents are determined by instantiating the template contained in the xsl:element element's content.

Attributes

name, required, attribute value template

The name of the element this instruction creates.

namespace, optional, attribute value template

The namespace URI of the element this instruction creates. If this attribute is omitted, then the namespace is determined by matching the name's prefix (or lack thereof) to the namespace declarations in scope at this point in the stylesheet.

use-attribute-sets, optional

A whitespace-separated list of names of xsl:attribute-set elements declared as top-level elements elsewhere in the stylesheet. These attribute sets are merged, and all attributes in the merged set are added to the element.

Contents

The contents of this element are a template. Once instantiated, this template forms the content of the element inserted into the result tree.

xsl:fallback  

<xsl:fallback>   <! --  template  -- > </xsl:fallback> 
 

The xsl:fallback instruction normally appears as a child of an extension element. If the processor does not recognize the extension element, then it instantiates the contents of all the element's xsl:fallback children in order. If the processor does recognize the element in which the xsl:fallback element appears, then the contents of the xsl:fallback element will not be output.

Contents

The contents of this element are a template that is instantiated and output if and only if the XSLT processor does not recognize the xsl:fallback element's parent element.

xsl:for-each  

<xsl:for-each    select = "node-set-expression">    <! --  (xsl:sort*, template)  -- > </xsl:for-each> 
 

The xsl:for-each instruction iterates over the nodes identified by its select attribute and applies templates to each one.

Attributes

select, required

An XPath node-set expression identifying which nodes to iterate over.

Contents

Normally, the selected nodes are processed in the order in which they appear in the document. However, nodes can be sorted using xsl:sort child elements. The first such element is the primary sort key; the second is the secondary sort key; and so on.

The xsl:for-each element must also contain a template that is instantiated once for each member of the node-set returned by the node-set expression in the select attribute.

xsl:if  

<xsl:if   test = "boolean-expression">   <! --  template  -- > </xsl:if> 
 

The xsl:if instruction contains a template that is instantiated if and only if the XPath expression contained in its test attribute is true. There is no xsl:else or xsl:else-if element. For these purposes, use xsl:choose instead.

Attributes

test, required

An XPath expression returning a Boolean. If this expression is true, the contents of the xsl:if element are instantiated. If it's false, they're not.

Contents

A template is instantiated if the test attribute evaluates to true.

xsl:import  

<xsl:import   href = "URI" /> 
 

The xsl:import top-level element imports the XSLT stylesheet found at the URI given by the href attribute. Source documents are processed using the combination of templates in the imported and importing stylesheets. In the event of a conflict between templates in the two stylesheets, the ones in the importing stylesheet take precedence. In the event of a conflict between imported stylesheets, the last one imported takes precedence.

All xsl:import elements must be immediate children of the root xsl:stylesheet element. Furthermore, they must appear before all other top-level elements.

An imported stylesheet may itself import another stylesheet. A stylesheet may not import a stylesheet that was already imported, directly or indirectly. That is, it's an error if A imports B, which imports A, thus creating a circular reference.

Attributes

href, required

The relative or absolute URI of the stylesheet to import. Relative URIs are resolved relative to the base URI of the importing stylesheet.

xsl:include  

<xsl:include    href = "URI" /> 
 

The xsl:include top-level element copies the contents of the xsl:stylesheet or xsl:transform element found at the URI given by the href attribute. Unlike xsl:import, whether a template or other rule comes from the including or the included stylesheet has absolutely no effect on the precedence of the various rules.

An included stylesheet may include another stylesheet. A stylesheet may not include a stylesheet that was already included, directly or indirectly; it is an error if A includes B, which includes A.

Attributes

href, required

The relative or absolute URI of the stylesheet to include. Relative URIs are resolved relative to the including stylesheet's base URI.

xsl:key  

<xsl:key    name  = "QualifiedName"    match = "pattern"    use   = "expression" /> 
 

The xsl:key top-level element defines one or more keys that can be referenced from elsewhere in the stylesheet using the key( ) function. Each key has a name, a string value, and a node.

Attributes

name, required

The key's name.

match, required

An XSLT match pattern, like that used by xsl:template, specifying which nodes have this key. If this pattern matches more than one node in the source document, then a single xsl:key element may define many keys, all with the same name and possibly the same value, but with different nodes.

use, required

An XPath expression that is converted to a string to give the value of keys defined by this element. The expression is evaluated with respect to each key's node. If match identifies multiple nodes, then use may produce different values for each key.

xsl:message  

<xsl:message   terminate = "yes" | "no">   <! --  template  -- > </xsl:message> 
 

The xsl:message instruction sends a message to the XSLT processor. Which messages the processor understands and what it does with messages it does understand is processor dependent. Printing debugging information on stderr or stdout is one common use of xsl:message.

Attributes

terminate, optional

If the attribute is present and has the value yes, then the XSLT processor should halt after the message is delivered and acted on.

Contents

An xsl:message element's content is a template instantiated to create an XML fragment. The result is then delivered to the XSLT processor as the message.

The XSLT specification does not define XML fragment, and various XSLT processors interpret it differently. It may be a result tree fragment or an XML fragment, as defined by the now moribund XML Fragment Interchange working draft. It may be something else. Clarification from the W3C is necessary.

xsl:namespace-alias  

<xsl:namespace-alias    stylesheet-prefix = "prefix"    result-prefix     = "prefix" /> 
 

The top-level xsl:namespace-alias element declares that one namespace URI in the stylesheet should be replaced by a different namespace URI in the result tree. Aliasing is particularly useful when you're transforming XSLT into XSLT using XSLT; consequently, which names belong to the input, which belong to the output, and which belong to the stylesheet is not obvious.

Attributes

stylesheet-prefix, required

The prefix used inside the stylesheet itself. May be set to #default to indicate that the nonprefixed default namespace should be used.

result-prefix, required

The prefix used in the result tree. May be set to #default to indicate that the nonprefixed default namespace should be used.

xsl:number  

<xsl:number    value  = "number-expression"    count  = "pattern"    from   = "pattern"    level  = "single" | "multiple" | "any"    format = "letter or digit"    lang   = "langcode"    letter-value = "alphabetic" | "traditional"    grouping-separator = "char"    grouping-size = "number" /> 
 

The xsl:number instruction inserts a formatted integer into the result tree.

Attributes

value, optional

This XPath expression returns the number to be formatted. If necessary, the result of the expression is rounded to the nearest integer. The value attribute is often omitted, in which case the number is calculated from the position of the current node in the source document. The position is calculated as specified by the level, count, and from attributes.

level, optional

This attribute specifies which levels of the source tree should be considered in determining the position of the current node. It can be set to single to count the preceding siblings of the current node's ancestor that match the count pattern. It can be set to any to count all nodes in the document that match the count pattern and precede the current node. It can be set to multiple to produce hierarchical sequences of numbers such as 2.7.3, where each number in the sequence is calculated from the preceding sibling's ancestor node that matches the count pattern. The default is single.

count, optional

This attribute contains a pattern that specifies which nodes should be counted at those levels. The default is to count all nodes with the same node type (element, text, attribute, etc.) and name as the current node.

from, optional

This attribute contains a pattern identifying the node from which counting starts; that is, it identifies a node that serves as a cutoff point. Any nodes that precede this node are not counted, even if they match the count pattern.

format, optional, attribute value template

This attribute determines how the list is numbered. Format tokens and sequences they produce include the following:

1

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, . . .

01

01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, . . .

A

A, B, C, D, . . . ,Z, AA, AB, AC, . . .

a

a, b, c, d, . . . ,z, aa, ab, ac, . . .

i

i, ii, iii, iv, v, vi, vii, viii, ix, x, xi, . . .

I

I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, . . .

You can also change the starting point; for instance, setting the format token to 5 would create the sequence 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, . . .

lang, optional, attribute value template

This is the RFC 1766 language code describing the language in which the number should be formatted (e.g., en or fr).

letter-value, optional, attribute value template

The default is traditional. However, you can set this attribute to alphabetic to indicate that a format of I should start the sequence I, J, K, L, M, N, . . . rather than I, II, III, IV, V, VI, . . .

grouping-separator, optional, attribute value template

This is the character that separates groups of digits. For instance, in English the comma customarily separates every three digits, as in 2,987,667,342. In French a space is used instead, so this number would be formatted as 2 987 667 342.

grouping-size, optional, attribute value template

This is the number of digits in each group. In most languages, including English, digits are divided into groups of three. However, a few languages use groups of four.

xsl:otherwise  

<xsl:otherwise>   <! --  template  -- > </xsl:otherwise> 
 

The xsl:otherwise element only appears as the last child element of an xsl:choose element. It serves as the default result if no xsl:when element in the same xsl:choose element is instantiated.

Contents

The contents are a template that is instantiated if and only if none of the xsl:choose element's xsl:when sibling elements is true.

xsl:output  

<xsl:output   method                 = "xml" | "html" | "text" | "PrefixedName"   version                = "NMTOKEN"   encoding               = "encoding_name"   omit-xml-declaration   = "yes" | "no"   standalone             = "yes" | "no"   doctype-public         = "PUBLIC_ID"   doctype-system         = "SYSTEM_ID"  cdata-section-elements = "element_name_1 element_name_2..."   indent                 = "yes" | "no"   media-type             = "string" /> 
 

The top-level xsl:output element helps determine the exact formatting of the XML document produced when the result tree is stored in a file, written onto a stream, or otherwise serialized into a sequence of bytes. It has no effect on the production of the result tree itself.

Attributes

method, optional

The default method is xml, which simply means that the serialized output document will be a well-formed external parsed entity or XML document. If method is set to html or if the method attribute is not present and the root element of the output tree is html, in any combination of case, then the processor attempts to generate HTML that is more compatible with existing browsers. For example, empty-element tags like <br/> are converted to <br>. The text method outputs only the contents of the text nodes in the output tree. It strips all markup. XSLT processors may also recognize and support other values that are indicated by prefixed names such as saxon:xhtml and jd:canonical-xml.

version , optional

This is a name token that identifies the output method's version. In practice, this has no effect on the output.

encoding, optional

This is the name of the encoding the outputter should use, such as ISO-8859-1 or UTF-16.

omit-xml-declaration, optional

If this attribute has the value yes, then no XML declaration is included. If it has the value no or is not present, then an XML declaration is included.

standalone, optional

This attribute sets the standalone attribute's value in the XML declaration. Like that attribute, it must have the value yes or no.

doctype-public, optional

This attribute sets the public identifier used in the document type declaration.

doctype-system, optional

This attribute sets the system identifier used in the document type declaration.

cdata-section-elements, optional

This is a whitespace-separated list of qualified element names in the result tree whose contents should be emitted using CDATA sections rather than character references.

indent, optional

If this attribute has the value yes, then the processor is allowed (but not required) to insert extra whitespace to attempt to "pretty-print" the output tree. The default is no.

media-type, optional

This is the output's MIME media type, such as text/html or text/xml.

xsl:param  

<xsl:param   name   = "QualifiedName"   select = "expression">   <! --  template  -- > </xsl:param> 
 

Inside an xsl:template element, an xsl:param element receives a named argument passed to the template by xsl:with-param. It also provides a default value that's used when the caller does not provide a value for the parameter. A top-level xsl:param element provides a default value for multiple templates. If an xsl:apply-templates or xsl:call-template passes in a parameter value using xsl:with-param when the template is invoked, then this value overrides any default value the xsl:param element may have. The parameter can be dereferenced using the form $name in expressions.

Attributes

name, required

The parameter's name.

select, optional

An XPath expression that is evaluated to produce the parameter's value. If xsl:param has a select attribute, then it must be an empty element. If a nonempty xsl:param element does not have a select attribute, then the value is taken from the element's contents. If an empty xsl:param element does not have a select attribute, then the value is the empty string.

Contents

An xsl:param element's content is a template that is instantiated to produce a result-tree fragment. This result-tree fragment then becomes the parameter's value. A nonempty xsl:param element must not have a select attribute.

xsl:preserve-space  

<xsl:preserve-space    elements="QualifiedName_1 QualifiedName_2..." /> 
 

The top-level xsl:preserve-space element specifies which elements in the source document will not have whitespace stripped from them before they are transformed. Whitespace stripping removes text nodes that contain only whitespace (the space character, the tab character, the carriage return, and the linefeed). By default, whitespace is preserved in an element unless its name is listed in the elements attribute of an xsl:strip-space element. This element allows you to override the list given in xsl:strip-space; if an element is listed in both xsl:strip-space and xsl:preserve-space, then its whitespace is preserved.

Attributes

elements, required

A whitespace-separated list of elements in which space should be preserved. Besides element names, the elements attribute can contain an asterisk to indicate that whitespace should be preserved in all elements or contain a namespace prefix followed by a colon and an asterisk to indicate that whitespace should be preserved in all elements in the given namespace.

xsl:processing-instruction  

<xsl:processing-instruction   name = "target">   <! --  template  -- > </xsl:processing-instruction> 
 

The xsl:processing-instruction element inserts a processing instruction into the result tree.

Attributes

name, required, attribute value template

The processing instruction's target.

Contents

The xsl:processing-instruction element's contents are a template that is instantiated to produce the processing-instruction data. This template may include XSLT instructions, provided that the result of instantiating this template is text that does not contain the two-character string ?>.

xsl:sort  

<xsl:sort    select     = "string-expression"    data-type  = "text" | "number" | "PrefixedName"    lang       = "langcode"    order      = "ascending" | "descending"    case-order = "upper-first" | "lower-first" /> 
 

The xsl:sort instruction appears as a child of either xsl:apply-templates or xsl:for-each. It changes the order in which templates are applied to the context node list from document order to another order, such as alphabetic. You can perform multiple key sorts (e.g., sort first by last name, then by first name, then by middle name) using multiple xsl:sort elements in descending order of the keys' importance.

Attributes

select, optional

This is the key to sort by. If select is omitted, then the sort key is set to the value of the current node.

data-type, optional, attribute value template

By default, sorting is purely alphabetic. However, alphabetic sorting leads to strange results with numbers. For instance, 10, 100, and 1000 all sort before 2, 3, and 4. You can specify numeric sorting by setting the data-type attribute to number.

lang, optional, attribute value template

Sorting is language dependent. Setting the lang attribute to an RFC 1766 language code changes the language. The default language is system dependent.

order, optional, attribute value template

This is the order by which strings are sorted. This order can be either descending or ascending. The default is ascending order.

case-order, optional, attribute value template

The case-order attribute can be set to upper-first or lower-first to specify whether uppercase letters sort before lowercase letters, or vice versa. The default depends on the language.

xsl:strip-space  

<xsl:strip-space    elements="QualifiedName_1 QualifiedName_2..." /> 
 

The top-level xsl:strip-space element specifies which elements in the source document have whitespace stripped from them before they are transformed. Whitespace stripping removes all text nodes that contain only whitespace (the space character, the tab character, the carriage return, and the linefeed). By default whitespace is not stripped from an element unless its name is listed in the elements attribute of an xsl:strip-space element.

This element does not trim leading or trailing whitespace or otherwise normalize whitespace in elements that contain even a single nonwhitespace character.

Attributes

elements, required

A whitespace-separated list of elements in which space should be stripped. Besides element names, the elements attribute can contain an asterisk to indicate that whitespace should be stripped in all elements or contain a namespace prefix followed by a colon and asterisk to indicate that whitespace should be stripped in all elements in the given namespace.

xsl:stylesheet  

<xsl:stylesheet   xmlns:xsl="http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform"   id = "ID"   extension-element-prefixes = "prefix1 prefix2..."   exclude-result-prefixes = "prefix1 prefix2..."   version = "1.0">   <! --  (xsl:import*, top-level-elements)  -- > </xsl:stylesheet> 
 

The xsl:stylesheet element is the root element for XSLT documents.

Attributes

xmlns:xsl, technically optional but de facto required

A standard namespace declaration that maps the prefix xsl to the namespace URI http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform. The prefix can be changed if necessary.

version, required

Currently, always the value 1.0. However, XSLT 2.0 may be released in 2003 with a concurrent updating of this number.

id, optional

Any XML name that's unique within this document's ID type attributes.

extension-element-prefixes, optional

A whitespace-separated list of namespace prefixes used by this document's extension elements.

exclude-result-prefixes, optional

A whitespace-separated list of namespace prefixes whose declarations should not be copied into the output document.

Contents

Any xsl:import elements, followed by any other top-level elements in any order.

xsl:template  

<xsl:template   match    = "pattern"   priority = "number"   name     = "QualifiedName"   mode     = "QualifiedName">   <! --  (xsl:param*, template)  -- > </xsl:template> 
 

The xsl:template top-level element is the key to all of XSLT. A little confusingly, the xsl:template element itself is not a template. Rather, it contains a template. The entire xsl:template element is called a template rule. The match attribute contains a pattern against which nodes are compared as they're processed. If the pattern matches a node, then the template (i.e., the contents of the template rule) is instantiated and inserted into the output tree.

Attributes

match, optional

A pattern against which nodes can be compared. This pattern is a location path using only the child, attribute, and descendant-or-self axes.

name, optional

A name by which this template rule can be invoked from an xsl:call-template element, rather than by node matching.

priority, optional

A number. If more than one template rule with the same import precedence matches a given node, the one with the highest priority is chosen. If this attribute is not present, then the template rule's priority is calculated in the following way:

  • Template rules with match patterns composed of just an element or attribute name (e.g., person or @profession) have priority 0.

  • Template rules with match patterns composed of just a processing-instruction('target') node test have priority 0.

  • Template rules with match patterns in the form prefix:* have priority -0.25.

  • Template rules with match patterns that just have a wildcard node test (*, @*, comment( ), node( ), text(), and processing-instruction( )) have priority -0.5. (This means that built-in template rules have priority -0.5. However, they are also imported before all other template rules, and thus never override any explicit template rule, regardless of priority.)

  • Template rules with any other patterns (person[name='Feynman'], people/person/@profession, person/text( ), etc.) have priority 0.5.

  • It is an error if two or more template rules match a node and have the same priority. However, in this case most XSLT processors choose the last template rule occurring in the stylesheet rather than signaling the error.

mode, optional

If the xsl:template element has a mode, then this template rule is matched only when the calling instruction's mode attribute matches this mode attribute's value.

Contents

The template that should be instantiated when this element is matched or called by name.

xsl:text  

<xsl:text    disable-output-escaping = "yes" | "no">    <! --  #PCDATA  -- > </xsl:text> 
 

The xsl:text instruction is used inside templates to indicate that its contents should be output as text. Its contents are pure text, not elements. If the contents are composed exclusively of whitespace, then that whitespace is copied literally into the output document, rather than being stripped as it would be by default in most other elements.

Attributes

disable-output-escaping, optional

Setting the disable-output-escaping attribute to yes indicates that characters such as < and &, which are normally replaced by character or entity references such as &lt; or &#x3C;, should instead be output as the literal characters themselves. Note that the xsl:text element's content in the stylesheet must still be well-formed, and any < or & characters must be written as &lt; or &amp; or the equivalent character references. However, when the output document is serialized, these references are replaced by the actual represented characters rather than references that represent them.

xsl:transform  

<xsl:transform   xmlns:xsl="http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform"   id = "ID"   extension-element-prefixes = "prefix1 prefix2..."   exclude-result-prefixes = "prefix1 prefix2..."   version = "1.0">   <! --  (xsl:import*, top-level-elements)  -- > </xsl:transform> 
 

The xsl:transform element is a seldom-used synonym for the xsl:stylesheet root element. It has the same attributes and contents as xsl:stylesheet and is used in exactly the same way as xsl:stylesheet. See the description of the xsl:stylesheet" element for the discussion of its attributes and content.

xsl:value-of  

<xsl:value-of    select = "expression"    disable-output-escaping = "yes" | "no" /> 
 

The xsl:value-of element computes the string value of an XPath expression and inserts it into the result tree. The values of the seven different kinds of nodes are as follows:

element

The text content of the element after all entity references are resolved and all tags, comments, and processing instructions are stripped

text

The text of the node

attribute

The normalized value of the attribute

root

The value of the root element

processing instruction

The processing instruction data (<?, ?>, and the target are not included)

comment

The text of the comment (<!-- and --> are not included)

namespace

The namespace URI

You can also take values of things that aren't nodes. The value of a node-set is the value of the first node in the set. The value of a string expression is the string. The value of a number expression is the string form of the number. The value of a Boolean expression is the string true if the Boolean is true or the string false if the Boolean is false.

Attributes

select, required

This is the XPath expression whose value is inserted into the result tree.

disable-output-escaping, optional

If this attribute has the value yes, then when the output document is serialized, characters such as < and & in the value are not replaced with entity or character references. This may result in a malformed document.

xsl:variable  

<xsl:variable   name   = "QualifiedName"   select = "expression">   <! --  template  -- > </xsl:variable> 
 

The xsl:variable element binds a name to a value of any type (string, number, node-set, etc.). This variable can then be dereferenced elsewhere using the form $name in an expression.

 

The word variable is a little misleading. Once the value of an xsl:variable is set, it cannot be changed. An xsl:variable is more like a named constant than a traditional variable.

 

name, required

The variable's name.

select, optional

An XPath expression that sets the value of the variable. If xsl:variable has a select attribute, then it must be an empty element.

Contents

A template that is instantiated to produce the variable's value as a result-tree fragment. If an xsl:variable is not an empty element, it must not have a select attribute. If xsl:variable is empty and does not have a select attribute, then its value is the empty string.

xsl:when  

<xsl:when   test = "boolean-expression">   <! --  template  -- > </xsl:when> 
 

The xsl:when element only appears as a child of an xsl:choose element.

Attributes

test, required

An XPath expression that evaluates to either true or false. The xsl:when contents are inserted into the result tree if and only if this is the first xsl:when element in the xsl:choose element whose test attribute evaluates to true.

Contents

The template to be instantiated and inserted into the result tree if the test attribute is true.

xsl:with-param  

<xsl:with-param   name   = "QualifiedName"   select = "expression">   <! --  template  -- > </xsl:with-param> 
 

The xsl:with-param element passes a named parameter to a template that expects it. This can either be a child of xsl:apply-templates or xsl:call-template. An xsl:template element receives the parameter via an xsl:param element with the same name. If a template expects to receive a particular parameter and doesn't get it, then it can take the default from the xsl:param element instead.

Attributes

name, required

The name of the parameter.

select, optional

An XPath expression evaluated to form the value of the parameter. If xsl:with-param has a select attribute, then it must be an empty element. If xsl:with-param does not have a select attribute, then the value is taken from the element's contents.

Contents

A template that is instantiated and passed as the parameter's value. If xsl:with-param is not an empty element, it must not have a select attribute. If xsl:with-param is empty and does not have a select attribute, then its value is the empty string.

23.3 XSLT Functions

XSLT supports all functions defined in XPath. In addition, it defines 10 extra functions. Most XSLT processors also make several extension functions available and allow you to write your own extension functions in Java or other languages. The extension API is nonstandard and processor dependent.

XPath and XSLT functions are weakly typed. Although one type or another is occasionally preferred, the processor normally converts any type you pass in to the type the function expects. Functions that only take node-sets as arguments are an exception to the weak-typing rule. Other data types including strings, numbers, and booleans cannot be converted to node-sets automatically.

XPath and XSLT functions also use optional arguments, which are filled in with defaults if omitted. In the following sections, we list the most common and useful variations of each function.

current( )  

node-set current( ) 
 

The current( ) function returns a node-set containing a single node, the current node. Outside of an XPath predicate, the current node and the context node (represented by a period in the abbreviated XPath syntax) are identical. However, in a predicate, the current node may change based on other contents in the predicate, while the context node stays the same.

document( )  

node-set document(string uri) node-set document(node-set uris) node-set document(string uri, node-set base) node-set document(node-set uris, node-set base) 
 

The document( ) function loads the XML document at the URI specified by the first argument and returns a node-set containing that document's root node. The URI is normally given as a string, but may be given as another type that is converted to a string. If the URI is given as a node-set, then each node in the set is converted to a string, and the returned node-set includes root nodes of all documents referenced by the URI argument.

If the URI contains a fragment identifier, then the node-set returned may indicate something other than the root node and thus contain more than one node. If an error occurs while retrieving a document, most XSLT processors stop processing the stylesheet.

The document( ) function may also take a node-set as an optional second argument, in which case the first node (in document order) in this set is used as the base URI with which to resolve relative URIs given in the first argument. If the second argument is omitted, then base URIs are resolved relative to the stylesheet's location.

element-available( )  

boolean element-available(string qualifiedElementName) 
 

element-available( ) returns true if and only if the argument identifies an XSLT element the processor recognizes. If the qualified name maps to a non-null namespace URI, then it refers to an extension element. Otherwise, it refers to a standard XSLT element. Assuming use of a fully conformant processor, you don't need to use this function to test for standard elements; just use it for extension elements.

format-number( )  

string format-number(number x, string pattern) string format-number(number x, string pattern, string decimalFormat) 
 

The format-number( ) function converts the number x to a string using the pattern specified by the second argument, as well as the xsl:decimal-format element named by the third argument (or the default decimal format, if the third argument is omitted).

This function's behavior is modeled after the java.text.DecimalFormat class in Java 1.1 (not 1.2 or later). See http://java.sun.com/products/jdk/1.1/docs/api/java.text.DecimalFormat.html for full documentation of the pattern passed as the second argument.

The pattern specifies whether leading and trailing zeros should be printed, whether the number's fractional part is printed, the number of digits in a group, and the leading and trailing suffixes for negative and positive numbers. The patterns are described using an almost Backus-Naur Form grammar, given here:

pattern     ->  subpattern{;subpattern} subpattern  ->  {prefix}integer{.fraction}{suffix} prefix      ->  '\\u0000'..'\\uFFFD' - specialCharacters suffix      ->  '\\u0000'..'\\uFFFD' - specialCharacters integer     ->  '#'* '0'* '0' fraction    ->  '0'* '#'*

The first line is not pure BNF. The first subpattern is used for positive numbers. The second subpattern, which may not be present, is used for negative numbers. If it's not present, negative numbers use the positive format, but are prefixed with a minus sign. Table 23-1 defines the symbols used in the grammar.

Table 23-1. Symbols used in the pattern grammar

Symbol

Meaning

0

A digit, including leading or trailing zeros; may be set to a different character using the zero-digit attribute of xsl:decimal-format.

#

A digit, except for leading or trailing zero; may be set to a different character using the digit attribute of xsl:decimal-format.

.

A decimal separator; may be set to a different character using the decimal-separator attribute of xsl:decimal-format.

,

A grouping separator; may be set to a different character using xsl:decimal-format's grouping-separator attribute.

;

Separates the positive and negative format patterns in a format string; may be set to a different character using the pattern-separator attribute of xsl:decimal-format.

-

A default negative prefix; may be set to a different character using xsl:decimal-format's minus-sign attribute.

%

Multiplies by 100 and shows as percentage; may be set to a different character using xsl:decimal-format's percent attribute.

figs/u2030.gif

Multiplies by 1,000 and shows as per mille; may be set to a different character using xsl:decimal-format's permille attribute.

X

Indicates that any other character can be used in the prefix or suffix.

'

Used to quote special characters in a prefix or suffix.

For instance, #,##0.### is a common decimal-format pattern. The # mark indicates any digit character except a leading or trailing zero. The comma is the grouping separator. The period is the decimal separator. The 0 is a digit that is printed even if it's a nonsignificant zero. This pattern is interpreted as follows:

  1. The integer part contains as many digits as necessary.

  2. The grouping separator separates every three digits.

  3. If the integer part only contains zeros, a single zero is placed before the decimal separator.

  4. Up to three digits are printed after the decimal point. However, any trailing zeros are not printed.

  5. No separate pattern is included for negative numbers. Thus, negative numbers are printed the same as positive numbers, but prefixed with a minus sign.

function-available( )  

boolean function-available(string qualifiedName) 
 

function-available( ) returns true if the argument identifies a function in the processor's function library; false otherwise. If the qualified name maps to a non-null namespace URI, then it refers to an extension function. Otherwise, it refers to a built-in function from XPath or XSLT. Assuming you're using a fully conformant processor, however, you don't need to test for standard functions, only for extension functions.

generate-id( )  

string generate-id(node-set node) string generate-id( ) 
 

The generate-id( ) function returns a string that can be used as the value of an ID type attribute. This function always produces the same string for the same node and a different string for a different node. If the node-set contains more than one node, then only the first node in the set is considered. If the argument is omitted, then the node-set is set to the context node. If the node-set is empty, then the empty string is returned.

key( )  

node-set key(string keyName, string value) node-set key(string keyName, node-set values) 
 

The key( ) function returns a node-set containing all nodes in the source document that have a key with the name given by the first argument and the value given by the second argument. If the second argument is a node-set, then the node-set returned contains all nodes that have a key with the specified name and a value that matches that of any node in the second argument. Otherwise, the returned node-set contains all nodes that have a key with the specified name and a value that matches the second argument's string value. Key names and values are assigned to nodes using the xsl:key element.

system-property( )  

object system-property(string qualifiedPropertyName) 
 

The system-property( ) function returns the value of the named property. The type of the returned object is processor- and property-dependent. If the processor does not recognize the property name, then it returns an empty string.

XSLT processors are required to recognize and return values for these three properties:

xsl:version

A number specifying the version of XSLT implemented by the processor; this is normally 1.0, but may become 2.0 during this book's life span.

xsl:vendor

A string identifying the XSLT processor's vendor; for instance, Apache Software Foundation for Xalan or SAXON 6.4.4 from Michael Kay for SAXON.

xsl:vendor-url

A string containing a URL for the XSLT processor's vendor; for instance, http://xml.apache.org/xalan for Xalan or http://saxon.sourceforge.net for SAXON.

Implementations may also recognize and return values for other processor-dependent properties.

unparsed-entity-uri( )  

string unparsed-entity-uri(string entityName) 
 

The unparsed-entity-uri( ) function returns the URI of the unparsed entity with the specified name declared in the source document's DTD or the empty string, if no unparsed entity with that name exists.

23.4 TrAX

Unfortunately, there is no standard API for XSLT that works across languages and engines: each vendor provides its own unique API. The closest thing to a standard XSLT API is TrAX (the Transformations API for XML), included in JAXP. However, this is limited to Java and is not even supported by all Java-based XSLT engines. Nonetheless, since it is the closest thing to a standard there is, we will discuss it here.

Code that transforms an XML document using an XSLT stylesheet through TrAX follows these six steps. All of the classes mentioned are in the javax.xml.transform package, a standard part of Java 1.4 and a separately installable option in earlier versions.

  1. Call the TransformerFactory.newInstance( ) factory method to create a new TransformerFactory object.

  2. Construct a Source object from the XSLT stylesheet.

  3. Pass this Source object to the TransformerFactory object's newTransform( ) method to create a Transform object.

  4. Construct a Source object from the input XML document you wish to transform.

  5. Construct a Result object into which the transformed XML document will be output.

  6. Pass the Source and the Result to the Transform object's transform( ) method.

The source can be built from a DOM Document object, a SAX InputSource, or an InputStream -- represented by the javax.xml.transform.dom.DOMSource, javax.xml.transform.sax.SAXSource, and javax.xml.transform.stream.StreamSource classes, respectively. The result of the transform can be a DOM Document object, a SAX ContentHandler, or an OutputStream. These are represented by the javax.xml.transform.dom.DOMResult, javax.xml.transform.sax.SAXResult, and javax.xml.transform.stream.StreamResult classes, respectively.

For example, this code fragment uses the XSLT stylesheet found at http://www.cafeconleche.org/books/xian/examples/08/8-8.xsl to transform the file people.xml in the current working directory onto System.out:

TransformerFactory factory = TransformerFactory.newInstance( ); URL u = new URL(  "http://www.cafeconleche.org/books/xian/examples/08/8-8.xsl"); InputStream in     = u.openStream( ); Source stylesheet  = new StreamSource(in); Transformer xform  = factory.newTransformer(stylesheet); InputStream people = new FileInputStream("people.xml"); Source original    = new StreamSource(people); Result transformed = new StreamResult(System.out); xform.transform(original, transformed);

The procedure is much the same when the source or result is a DOM Document object or a SAX event stream. Just use the DOMSource, SAXSource, DOMResult, and/or SAXResult classes as appropriate. For example, this code fragment transforms the DOM Document object doc according to the stylesheet at http://www.cafeconleche.org/books/xian/examples/08/8-8.xsl and passes the result through the SAX ContentHandler object named handler:

Document doc; // Build the doc object in the usual way... TransformerFactory factory = TransformerFactory.newInstance( ); URL u = new URL(  "http://www.cafeconleche.org/books/xian/examples/08/8-8.xsl"); InputStream in     = u.openStream( ); Source stylesheet  = new StreamSource(in); Transformer xform  = factory.newTransformer(stylesheet); ContentHandler handler = new XMLCounter( ); // From Chapter 19 Source original    = new DOMSource(doc); Result transformed = new SAXResult(handler); xform.transform(original, transformed);

 

CONTENTS


XML in a Nutshell
XML in a Nutshell, 2nd Edition
ISBN: 0596002920
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2001
Pages: 28

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