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RE: returning nodes which have a specific child

Subject: RE: returning nodes which have a specific child
From: "Michael Kay" <mike@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 2 Jul 2009 10:02:09 +0100
RE:  returning nodes which have a specific child
> I'm relatively new to xsl and to be honest a lot of it seems
> like a black art.

I suspect you're looking at XSLT code and trying to reverse engineer the
design principles of the language from that. Since you're the kind of person
who feels a need to understand the concepts rather than learning by
cut-and-paste, I think you'd benefit from reading a good book on the

> Can you briefly describe what your
> solution does?

It describes three rules:

Rule 1: By default, when you find a node, do a shallow copy of this node and
process its attributes and children by applying these rules recursively.

Rule 2: But if you find an element, don't copy it; just process its child
elements by applying these rules recursively.

Rule 3: But if you find an element that has a child element that has an
attribute @name whose value is 'CONTENT', do the same as in Rule 1.

The tricky bit here is the priorities of the rules. I think Michael's been a
bit naughty here by giving rule 2 a priority of -0.4 and leaving the
priority of the other rules unspecified. In fact, the rules for defaulting
priority mean that rule 1 has a priority of -0.5, and rule 3 has a priority
of +0.5. (Higher number means higher priority.) I would have given the rules
explicit priorities of 1, 2, and 3 respectively to make this more readable.

Michael has also taken a short-cut in that Rule 1 is a very commonly used
"default rule" called the identity template, so he has re-used it; but in
your case it's never used for element nodes, so it could be replaced by the
simpler rule

  <xsl:template match="@*">

(I'm not sure why rule 3 is processing the attributes of an element and rule
2 isn't, but I didn't study your original problem.)


Michael Kay

> >
> > <xsl:stylesheet version="1.0"
> >  xmlns:xsl="http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform">
> >
> >  <xsl:template match="@*|node()"><!-- identity template -->
> >    <xsl:copy>
> >      <xsl:apply-templates select="@*|node()"/>
> >    </xsl:copy>
> >  </xsl:template>
> >
> >  <xsl:template match="*" priority="-0.4" ><!-- skip unwanted -->
> >    <xsl:apply-templates select="*"/>
> >  </xsl:template>
> >
> >  <xsl:template match="*[*[@name='CONTENT']]" ><!-- keep wanted -->
> >    <xsl:copy>
> >      <xsl:apply-templates select="@*|node()"/>
> >    </xsl:copy>
> >  </xsl:template>
> >
> > </xsl:stylesheet>
> >
> > Michael Ludwig

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