Saxon XSLT implements the XSLT 1.0 and XPath 1.0 Recommendations from the World Wide Web Consortium, found at http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/REC-xslt-19991116 and http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/REC-xpath-19991116, which are referred to here collectively as "XSLT"
Saxon is 100% conformant to the mandatory requirements of these standards, the only exception being that constructs introduced in XSLT 2.0 and XPath 2.0 are not reported as errors.
Saxon 7.0 implements many facilities defined in the draft XSLT 2.0 specification. This specification is not yet complete, and the facilities I have chosen to implement are those that appear to be the most stable.
The XSLT 2.0 features supported are as follows:
Saxon will automatically treat a result tree fragment as a node-set when required.
Saxon supports the
xsl:result-document elements defined
in the draft XSLT 2.0 specification, together with named
The implementation is not yet complete: in particular (a) the href attribute is interpreted
as a filename relative to the current directory (not the base URI), and (b) the provisions
relating to use of
xsl:result-document while the current output destination is a temporary tree
are not yet implemented.
Saxon supports the use of xml:base to define the Base URI of a node, as defined in
the XSLT 1.1 specifications, except in the case of the base URI of a processing instruction contained
in an external entity. (This feature is supported regardless of the setting of
separator attribute on
xsl:value-of is implemented.
xsl:for-each-group instruction is implemented, together with the
Named sort keys (using the
xsl:sort-key declaration) are implemented, together
sort() function that uses them.
collation attribute in
xsl:sort is implemented (supported
by a new
saxon:collation declaration to manage collation names.
xsl:function declaration is implemented.
Instructions such as
can handle arbitrary sequences.
method="xhtml" attribute on the
Saxon 7.0 implements many facilities defined in the draft XPath 2.0 specification.
The XPath 2.0 features supported are as follows:
Saxon supports the following simple data types: string, boolean, decimal, integer, float, double, with their literal forms and constructors.
Sequences (of nodes or simple values) are supported. The sequence constructor
(a, b, c) is implemented. Range expressions (
a to b) are implemented.
The "for", "if, "some", and "every" expressions are implemented.
union are implemented,
but only where the operands are sequences of nodes.
Any expression may now appear on the right-hand side of the "/" operator (a run-time error is reported if it doesn't evaluate to a sequence of nodes).
In addition to functions defined in XPath 1.0 and XSLT 1.0, the following functions are available: avg(), base-uri(), compare() [with 3 arguments], empty(), exists(), index-of(), insert(), lower-case(), max(), min(), not3(), remove(), string-pad(), sublist(), upper-case()
Saxon is dependant on the user-selected XML parser to ensure conformance with the XML 1.0 Recommendation and the XML Namespaces Recommendation. There are no known non-conformances in the version of the AElfred parser provided with the Saxon product. Note, however, that this parser does not perform XML validation.
Saxon implements the <?xml-stylesheet?> processing instruction as described in the W3C Recommendation Associating StyleSheets with XML Documents. The href pseudo-attribute must be a URI identifying an XML document containing a stylesheet, or a URI with a fragment identifier identifying an embedded stylesheet. The fragment must be the value of an ID attribute declared as such in the DTD.
Many aspects of XSLT 2.0 and XPath 2.0 are not yet implemented. These include:
Date and time data types.
Regular expression support.
XML Schema support, and constructs involving data types (for example,
instance ofcast as, and the
type attribute of
Derived simple types (e.g.
xsd:short), with the exception of
Primitive types other than those listed above, for example base64, binHex, anyURI, etc.
Functions and operators other than those listed above.
Handling of an empty sequence () as an argument to operators and functions.
There are many areas where the semantics implemented by Saxon still reflect the XPath 1.0 rules, for example the rules for conversion of numbers to strings. In some cases the XPath 2.0 rules in these areas are not yet stable (that is, there are open issues documented in the current working draft).
The XSLT specification says that the documentation for an implementation should specify which URI schemes are supported. Saxon supports the URI scheme implemented by the Java java.net.URL class, with the optional addition of a fragment identifier, as described below. Additionally, Saxon allows the user to nominate a URIResolver class which can be used to implement any URI scheme the user wants.
The XSLT specification says that the documentation for an implementation should specify for which media types fragment identifiers are supported. The standard URI resolver supports access to XML documents only. A simple fragment identifier is allowed, consisting of the value of an ID attribute in the document. The effect is to return the subdocument rooted at the element with this identifier if there is one, or an empty document otherwise. For example, the URI mydoc.xml#aaa locates the XML document mydoc.xml, and if it contains an element <eeee id="aaa">, where id is an attribute of type ID, then the document retrieved is an XML document with this <eeee> element as its outermost (document) element.
The values of the vendor-specific system properties are:
|xsl:vendor||SAXON n.n.n from Michael Kay|
All these values are subject to change in future releases. Users wishing to test whether the processor is Saxon are advised to test whether the xsl:product system property has the value "SAXON".
The reason for returning 1.8 from
xsl:version is that the product
is not yet fully conformant with XSLT 2.0
Saxon implements a number of extensions to standard XSLT, following the rules for extension functions and extension elements where appropriate. The extensions are documented in extensions.html. They are all implemented in accordance with the provisions in the standard for extensibility.
The following is the list of encodings recognized by the built-in AElfred parser (case-insensitive):
ISO-8859-1, 8859_1, ISO8859_1 US-ASCII, ASCII UTF-8, UTF8 ISO-10646-UCS-2, UTF-16, UTF-16BE, UTF-16LE
The encodings available on output are the intersection of:
ascii, us-ascii, utf-8, utf8, utf-16, utf16, iso-8859-1, iso-8859-2 ko18-r, cp852, cp1250, windows-1250, cp1251, windows-1251 (again case-insensitive)
with whatever your Java VM supports.
If you select an encoding that the Java VM recognizes, but which is not in the above list, then the output will be written in the requested encoding, but all non-ASCII characters will be written as character references.
Saxon can be used with any SAX-conformant XML parser. The extent of XML conformance depends entirely on the chosen parser.
The default parser is a version of Ælfred. All known non-conformances in this parser have now been fixed.
Saxon accepts input (both source document and stylesheet) from any standards-compliant DOM implementation.
Saxon allows the result tree to be attached to any Document or Element node of an existing DOM. Any DOM implementation can be used, provided it is mutable.
Saxon's internal tree structure (which is visible through the Java API, including the case where Java extensions functions are called from XPath expressions) conforms with the minimal requirements of the DOM level 2 core Java language binding. This DOM interface is read-only, so all attempts to call updating methods throw an appropriate DOM exception. No optional features are implemented. The DOM interfaces to Saxon's tree structure do not reveal namespace nodes as attributes. This means it is not possible to get information about namespace declarations except by calls such as getPrefix() and getNamespaceURI() on Element and Attr nodes).
If an extension function returns a DOM Node or NodeList, this must consist only of Nodes in a tree constructed using Saxon. Since Saxon's trees cannot be updated using DOM methods, this means that the nodes returned must either be nodes from the original source tree, or nodes from a tree constructed using Saxon's proprietary API. It is not possible to construct the tree using DOM methods such as createElement() and createAttribute().
Saxon implements the JAXP 1.1 API (including TrAX), as defined in JSR-63. Saxon implements the interfaces in the javax.xml.transform package in full, including support for SAX, DOM, and Stream input, and SAX, DOM, and Stream output.
There are restrictions in using transform() on a DOMSource when the node to be transformed is a node other than the root (i.e. the DOM Document node). These apply only if the supplied DOM is a third-party DOM, not if it is a Saxon-constructed tree. Specifically, if the start node is not the root then it must be an element; and it must not have an ancestor or preceding-sibling node, or an ancestor with a preceding-sibling node, that is an entity reference node or CDATA section node.
Saxon also implements the javax.xml.parsers API. The SAX interfaces are implemented in full. The DOM interfaces are limited by the capabilities of the Saxon DOM, specifically the fact that it is read-only. Nevertheless, the DocumentBuilder may be used to construct a Saxon tree, or to obtain an empty Document node which can be supplied in a DOMResult to hold the result of a transformation.
Where the XSLT specification requires that an error be signaled, Saxon produces an error message and terminates stylesheet execution. In the case of errors detected at compile time, it attempts to report as many errors as possible before terminating; in the case of run-time errors, it terminates after the first error.
Where the XSLT specification states that the processor may recover from an error, Saxon takes one of three actions as described in the table below. Either it signals the error and terminates execution, or it recovers silently from the error in the manner permitted by the specification, or it places the action under user control. In the latter case there are three options: report the error and terminate, recover silently, or (the default) recover after writing a warning to the system error output stream. These actions can be modified by supplying a user-defined ErrorListener.
Handling of individual recoverable errors is described in the table below.
|There is more than one template rule that matches a node, with the same import precedence and priority||User option|
|There is more that one xsl:namespace-alias statement for a given prefix, with the same import precedence||Recover silently|
|An element name defined using xsl:element is invalid||User option|
|An attribute name defined using xsl:attribute is invalid||User option|
|There are several attribute sets with the same import precedence that define the same named attribute||Recover silently|
|A processing-instruction name defined using xsl:processing-instruction is invalid||User option|
|A node other than a text node is written to the result tree while instantiating xsl:attribute, xsl:comment, or xsl:processing-instruction||User option|
|Invalid characters are written to the content of a comment or processing instruction||User option|
|An attribute node or namespace node is written directly to the root of a result tree fragment, or to any other node that is not an element node.||User option|
|The document() function identifies a resource that cannot be retrieved||User option|
|There are several xsl:output elements specifying the same attribute with the same import precedence||Recover silently|
|disable-output-escaping is used for a text node while instantiating xsl:attribute, xsl:comment, or xsl:processing-instruction||Recover silently|
|disable-output-escaping is used for a text node within a result tree fragment that is subsequently converted to a string or number||Recover silently|
|disable-output-escaping is used for a text node containing a character that cannot be output using the target encoding||Recover silently|
Michael H. Kay
20 December 2001