ANNOUNCE: SAXON 4.2 - An XSL Compiler

Kay Michael Michael.Kay at
Fri Apr 23 23:59:23 BST 1999

SAXON 4.2 is available for download on the usual URL:

The most significant new feature is an XSL compiler. This takes an XSL
stylesheet as input and generates a Java application as output. The Java
application (with the help of the SAXON run-time library) performs the
actual processing of source XML documents without further reference to the
original style sheet. The compiled stylesheet can be invoked from the
command line, from a client application via an API, or can be installed as a
servlet and invoked directly from the browser. A compiled stylesheet runs
2-3 times faster than the interpreter, with a bigger potential saving in
servlet mode because it avoids the need to reinitialise for each document

The compiler is written in XSL, generates Java, and has been used to compile

SAXON's XSL interpreter remains available and has been upgraded to conform
closely with the Dec 1998 XSL draft (before they moved the goalposts). The
Java API also remains available and benefits from support for many of the
newly-implemented XSL features, e.g. richer pattern syntax.

SAXON's XSL, while lacking some of the features in the standard, has a
number of extensions designed to widen the range of applicability. These
- multiple output files
- generate any text output file (not just XML or HTML)
- close integration of Java and XSL code
- extensibility (e.g. to access SQL databases)

A new feature which responds to a request many XSL users have made is a
"group-by" operator which allows extra levels to be added to the document
structure, e.g. for subheadings.

Mike Kay

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