XSL Challenge

Roger Costello costello at mitre.org
Sat Jun 5 14:20:28 BST 1999

Hi Folks,

Are you up for a mind-bending XSL problem?  Someone presented 
me with this problem several weeks ago and I have yet to find
a solution.  It looks simple.  It is deceptively challenging.

An XML document stores database data as follows:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
                <Column name="col1"/>
                <Column name="col2"/>
                <Column name="col1">A</Column>
                <Column name="col3">B</Column>
                <Column name="col2">C</Column>
                <Column name="col2">S</Column>
                <Column name="col1">E</Column>
                <Column name="col5">R</Column>
                <Column name="col2">G</Column>
                <Column name="col1">Q</Column>

Note that the columns that we are interested in are col1 and col2.
A <Row> element may contain data from columns not of interest.  
But, it will always contain at least data for col1 and col2.

The problem is to create an XSL stylesheet that generates an
HTML table with a table header: 

           col1   col2   

and within the table it has the row data.  So the HTML table
should look like this:

           col1    col2
           A       C
           E       S
           Q       G

I have shown an XML document which has just two columns.  However,
the XSL stylesheet needs to be generic and capable of handling
XML documents with any number of columns (as listed in the <Columns>

P.S.  Below is what I tried, which doesn't work.

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<xsl:stylesheet xmlns:xsl="http://www.w3.org/TR/WD-xsl"
    <xsl:template match="DynamicTable">
            <TITLE>Dynamic Table</TITLE>
                <TABLE BORDER="1" WIDTH="50%">
                        <xsl:for-each select="Columns/Column">
                            <TH><xsl:value-of select="@name"/></TH>
                    <xsl:for-each select="Rows/Row">
                            <xsl:for-each select="../../Columns/Column">


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