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Re: XSL Processors

Subject: Re: XSL Processors
From: "John E. Simpson" <simpson@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 09:31:13 -0500
msie5 download
At 01:21 PM 01/24/2000 +0000, Peter Bennett wrote:
I have brought a book on XSL stylesheets, and its asks me to download
msxsl.exe, the microsoft processor, so that I can use XSL to convert XML
to HTML.   However, since the book was written, it appears Microsoft
have totally rearranged their website. So I can't find msxsl.exe, I have
treid a few links from other sites, but they all have the same problem.
Does anyone have a copy of msxsl.zip or advice on where to find it.

Yeah, MS no longer offer that standalone thing. Just as well -- if you learn to "convert XML to HTML" with it, you'll never learn *anything* about XSL! (The version of XSL that it understands is no longer even approximately in synch with the spec.)

Assuming you're on Windows, you've got a couple of alternatives:

1. Download and use MSIE5, which has XSL support built into it. The current "officially supported" IE5, though, is based on a year-old version of the XSL spec which has little to do with the much-closer-to-final version that's out now. (Supposedly full support for the current XSLT/XPath specs will come with the next version of IE5, for which a preview release is supposedly available now although I haven't seen it.) The other downside is that only you, and other users of the same version of the browser that you have, will be able to view your results: the HTML is created on-the-fly but "goes away" as soon as you leave that page.

2. Download and use one of the several freely-available XSLT processors frequently talked about here on XSL-List. This isn't statistically verified, but it seems to me that the most frequently mentioned of these are James Clark's XT, Michael Kay's SAXON, and a handful of others. These tend to be command-line-based, which gives some people the willies, but also tend to be robust and stable, and to hew closely to the spec. Although it's possible to hook up most of these tools on a server, whence you can generate HTML from XML on-the-fly and deliver it to users with any old Web browser, I haven't done that (yet). I and many others use these tools to transform XML documents into HTML (or into other XML) documents. As long as you've done your homework and know something about XSLT, they really are simple and reliable solutions to the problem.

Good sources for links to XSL(T) software are:

1. James Tauber's XMLSoftware site: http://www.xmlsoftware.com/xsl/
2. Lars Marius Garshol's page of "free XML tools" -- "XSL engines" category at: http://www.garshol.priv.no/download/xmltools/cat_ix.html#SC_XSL

Neither of these sites links to Microsoft, but don't let that discourage you; many people use IE5 as a learning tool. Just be aware of the limitations.

And when you finally select a tool and post questions here, always remember to mention WHICH one you're using. :)

John E. Simpson            |  I spilled spot remover on my dog.
simpson@xxxxxxxxxxx        |  He's gone now.
http://www.flixml.org      |  (Stephen Wright)

XSL-List info and archive: http://www.mulberrytech.com/xsl/xsl-list

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