XSLT Tutorial in PDF

Table of contents

  • What means XSLT?
  • Why Transform XML?
  • Publishing XML data
  • Data Conversion
  • How XML data can be transformed using XSLT?
  • The place of XSLT in the XML family
  • Styling: XSLT vs. CSS
  • Processing: XSLT vs. XML Query
  • Simple Transformation Examples with XSLT
  • The XSLT Processing Model
  • The Supported Information Items
  • The Transformation Process
  • Push Processing
  • Conflict Resolution Policy
  • The XSLT Language
  • XML syntax
  • Data Types in XSLT
  • XSLT variables & parameters
  • XPath Expressions
  • Stylesheet Structure
  • XSLT Elements
  • Finally an Example Break
  • XSLT Design Patterns
  • Fill-in-the blanks stylesheets
  • Navigational stylesheets
  • Rule-based stylesheets
  • Computational stylesheets
  • XSLT Processors: Saxon
  • XSLT Processors: Xalan
  • XSLT Processors: Architecture
  • XSLT Processors: Comparison

What's XSLT

XML Stylesheet Language (XSL) has been designed to transform XML documents into other formats such as PDF or HTML pages. During its development, the project proved to be more complex than expected and it was split into two separate XSLT and XSL-FO units. XML Stylesheet Language Transformation (XSLT) is an XML document transformation language. XSL-FO (for XML Stylesheet Language - Formatting Objects) is a document layout language. The process of transforming an XML document into a printable document, for example in PDF format, is divided into two phases. In the first phase, the XML document is transformed into an XSL-FO document using XSLT style sheets. In the second phase, the FO document obtained in the first phase is converted by an FO processor into a printable document.

Although the XSLT language originates in the transformation of XML documents into XSL-FO documents, it is suitable for transforming a document of any XML dialect into a document of any other XML dialect. It is often used to produce XSL-FO or XHTML documents, but it can also produce SVG documents. XSLT is also often used to perform simple transformations on documents. For example, you want to delete some elements, replace an attribute with an element, or move an element.

This chapter is dedicated to the XSLT part of XSL. Like all of this book, it is essentially based on examples available at the URL http://www.liafa.univ-paris-diderot.fr/~carton/Enseignement/XML/


The working principle of XSLT is as follows. An XSLT style sheet contains rules that describe transformations. These rules are applied to an XML source document to obtain a new XML result document. This transformation is performed by a program called XSLT processor. The style sheet is also called a program because it is the instructions to be executed by the processor.

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