Introduction to XSL

The following figure shows the working process of XSLT:

XSLT Processors

The job of an XSLT processor is to apply an XSLT stylesheet to an XML source document and produce a result document, (for example HTML document). There are several XSLT processors, but a few good one (Open sources), such as MSXML4, Saxon, and Xalan, XT, Oracle. Most of them can be downloaded free from Web

Apache’s Xalan XSLT engine

Xalan is the Apache XML Project’s XSLT engine. This processor is available at http:// We will concentrate on using this engine for transformation our XML document that we have developed and want to
transform it into output document in the HTML format.

Once the or .gzip file is downloaded, unpack it and add these files to your CLASSPATH. These files include the .jar file for


the Xerces parser, and the .jar file for the Xalan stylesheet engine itself. The .jar files are named xercesImpl.jar, and xalan.jar.

Working with XSLT APIs

XSLT consist of three components that transform an XML document into the required format. These components are:

  • An instance of the TransformerFactory
  • An instance of the Transformer
  • The predefined transformation instruction

TransformerFactory is an abstract class used to create an instance of the Transformer class that is responsible for transforming a source object to a result object.

The process of XML transformation starts when you create an instance of the TransformerFactory class. An instance of the Transformer class is then created using the instance of the TransformerFactory class. This
instance of the Transformer class uses the XML document as a source object and optionally uses the predefined instructions required for transformation to generate the formatted output as a result object. You can create the source XML document using SAX, DOM, or an
input stream. The result object of the transformation process is in the form of a SAX event handler, DOM, or an output stream.

During transformation process, the original document is not changed; rather, a new document is created based on the content of an existing one. The new document may be serialized (output) by the processor in standard XML syntax or in another format, such as HTML or plain text.

The following figure shows the working process of XSLT APIs:

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