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XSLT documentation

Subject: XSLT documentation
From: Hoskins & Gretton <hoskgret@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 25 Dec 2009 15:25:40 -0500
 XSLT documentation
Date: Thu, 24 Dec 2009 15:21:55 -0500
To: "xsl-list@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx" <xsl-list@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Brian Newman <brian.newman@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: XSLT documentation
Message-ID: <A87B5F3921038447AE0BFF8B42C5C7FF1ACB925EA2@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Have you ever been tasked to describe _graphically_ what a transform is doi=
ng and, if so, how have you done it?

I would be interested in what you mean by "graphically" -- can you provide some details of the output format you want (i.e. HTML? SVG? Flash? PDF?) and what you think would visually represent the relationships between the XML and the result output. For example, you can probably generate SVG with text labels that represent the element or attribute being processed by a given template rule and what its output will be. But it might be a different exercise entirely to represent how a parameter passes through a set of templates.

For SVG, there seem to be plenty of interesting resources online (http://www.carto.net/svg/manipulating_svg_with_dom_ecmascript/, http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/xml/library/x-svgint/ http://uvdiv.blogspot.com/2009/08/how-to-create-svg-graphics-in-blogger.html http://www.kevlindev.com/tutorials/basics/text/js_dom/index.htm http://croczilla.com/bits_and_pieces/svg/samples/foreign1/foreign1.xml). Java can be used for non-SVG (http://surguy.net/articles/generating-graphics-with-xslt.xml) display on a web page. This site is interesting in regards to a dynamic approach http://www.tonymarston.net/xml-xsl/reusable-xsl.html (intended for data-like XML content to be displayed in forms).

I personally love the dynamic displays that some folks have set up to show examples of XSLT applied to XML, where one can make changes to the XSLT and see how it affects the output in a companion window on the web page http://www.webcontinuum.net/xml_xsltdemo.aspx#form_input1. At one of my previous jobs, we built an interactive browser-based interface for non-developers to understand the transforms we were writing and how the parameters that they provided would affect the result in JSP "widgets" on the website where they would be used commercially. As I no longer work for that company, I don't have the code for the display site to share. But the idea is to make a set of sample XML files that covers just about any condition you want to demonstrate, and provide a method to apply XSLT and display the result in real time.

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