String expressions in XSL

Andrew Bunner bunner at
Fri Sep 18 18:26:19 BST 1998

[... moved from bottom ...]
>I would solve the problem by using my SAXON library to
>convert the XML document to another XML document that
>contains precisely the character content you want to
>display, and then use XSL to render it.

  I had an almost identical problem, fortunately there was a lot less data
involved though ;)

  The way I solved it was I defined a macro to spit out the links and I
provided the macro with some arguments to let it know the context in which
the links were bring defined. In your case, the arguments might be
"subclass A01B" or something.

  Then I got kludgey. Real kludgey.

  I made up my own tag called <define-script> to include in my XSL
document. For those who are wondering, I wanted to name it
<extra-xsl:define-script> (or something), but I couldn't figure out how to
do namespaces properly and after a few minutes, I gave up.

  Anyway, I let XT process the XSL file as best it can and then I run it
through my post-processor which sends the contents of the <define-script>
tags to a Perl interpreter and then replaces the tags with whatever the
Perl script sends to STDOUT.

  Which is to say, there's no easy way to do what you want.

>>There seems to be _no_ string expression language neither
>>for patterns nor for "value-of".
>>I guess my problems are not too special.

  Actually, I'd say your problem is representative of a big hole in the
working draft. I think they plan on incorporating some specifications for
how XSL can be extended with a scripting language in a later working draft.
That's the sort of thing that would solve this...

>I too was very surprised by the omission of string
>manipulation facilities in XSL. I think XSL has been
>designed rather on the assumption that your XML document
>contains the character strings you want the user to see

  It's probably safe to say that the spec just isn't done. These features
will have to be added later because they're too important to expressly
leave out. I hope.

-- Andrew

   Andrew Bunner
   President, Founder Mass Quantities, Inc.
   Professional Supplements for the Perfect Physique 

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