More on XSL Patterns...

Tyler Baker tyler at
Thu Sep 17 13:24:12 BST 1998

In XSL there are two kinds of patterns: match and select.

Match patterns may only contain absolute anchors while select patterns
can contain both absolute anchors and relative anchors.

Now for conditional processing in the case of xsl:if and xsl:when
instructions, the patterns tested are select patterns and the contents
of these instructions are processed if one or more nodes are selected.

What this sounds like to me is that the patterns for xsl:if and xsl:when
are really match patterns which can have relative anchors.  No they are
not really match patterns but they are something different because once
you encounter an occurrence of at least one node which matches the
pattern, then the condition is satisfied.

Perhaps there should be a new pattern in the next release of the spec in
addition to the match pattern and the select pattern called a
conditional pattern where a pattern is satisfied upon the first
occurrence of a match.

This would make a lot of sense IMHO as far as clarifications go, even
though it would not really change anything fundamental to the current
spec with respect to patterns.


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