This page describes how to use Saxon XSLT Stylesheets, either from the command line, or from the Java API, or as an Applet in the browser.
Running a Transformation from the Command Line
Compiling a Stylesheet from the Command Line
Choosing a Tree Model
Embedding Saxon in an Application
Running Saxon in an Applet
Saxon XSLT and XPath Conformance
The Java class
net.sf.saxon.Transform has a main program that
may be used to apply a given style sheet to a given source XML document. The form of
java net.sf.saxon.Transform [options] source-document stylesheet [ params ]
The options must come first, then the two file names, then the params. The stylesheet is omitted if the -a option is present.
If you are are not using any Java extension functions, you can use the simpler form of command:
java -jar dir/saxon7.jar [options] source-document stylesheet [ params ]
Note, however, that this does not work if you need to load user-written extension functions from the classpath.
The options are as follows (in any order):
|-a||Use the xml-stylesheet processing instruction in the source document to identify the stylesheet to be used. The stylesheet argument should be omitted.|
|-c||Indicates that the stylesheet argument identifies a compiled stylesheet rather than an XML source stylesheet. The stylesheet must have been previously compiled as described in Compiling a Stylesheet.|
|-ds | -dt||Selects the implementation of the internal tree model. -dt selects the "tinytree" model (the default). -ds selects the traditional tree model. See Choosing a tree model below.|
|-l||Switches line numbering on for the source document. Line numbers are accessible through the extension function saxon:line-number(), or from a trace listener.|
|-m classname||Use the specified Emitter to process the output from xsl:message. The class must implement the net.sf.saxon.output.Emitter class. This interface is similar to a SAX ContentHandler, it takes a stream of events to generate output. In general the content of a message is an XML fragment. By default the standard XML emitter is used, configured to write to the standard error stream, and to include no XML declaration. Each message is output as a new document.|
|-noext||Suppress calls on extension functions, other than system-supplied Saxon and EXSLT extension
functions. This option is useful when loading an untrusted stylesheet, perhaps from a remote
site using an |
|-o filename||Send output to named file. In the absence of this option, the results go to standard output.
If the source argument identifies a directory, this option is mandatory and must also identify
a directory; on completion it will contain one output file for each file in the source directory.
You will also need to use this option (rather than sending the results to standard output) if
the stylesheet writes secondary output files using the |
|-r classname||Use the specified URIResolver to process all URIs. The URIResolver is a user-defined class, that extends the net.sf.saxon.URIResolver class, whose function is to take a URI supplied as a string, and return a SAX InputSource. It is invoked to process URIs used in the document() function, in the xsl:include and xsl:import elements, and (if -u is also specified) to process the URIs of the source file and stylesheet file provided on the command line.|
|-t||Display version and timing information to the standard error output. The output also traces the files that are read and writting, and extension modules that are loaded.|
|-T||Display stylesheet tracing information to the standard error output. This traces execution of each instruction in the stylesheet, so the output can be quite voluminous. Also switches line numbering on for the source document.|
|-TL classname||Run the stylesheet using the specified TraceListener. The classname names a user-defined class, which must implement net.sf.saxon.trace.TraceListener|
|-u||Indicates that the names of the source document and the style document are URLs; otherwise they are taken as filenames, unless they start with "http:" or "file:", in which case they are taken as URLs|
|-v||Requests XML validation of the source file and of any files read using the document() function. Requires an XML parser that supports validation.|
|-w0, w1, or w2||Indicates the policy for handling recoverable errors in the stylesheet: w0 means recover silently, w1 means recover after writing a warning message to the system error output, w2 means signal the error and do not attempt recovery. (Note, this does not currently apply to all errors that the XSLT recommendation describes as recoverable). The default is w1.|
|-x classname||Use specified SAX parser for source file and any files loaded using the document() function. The parser must be the fully-qualified class name of a Java class that implements the org.xml.sax.Parser or org.xml.sax.XMLReader interface|
|-y classname||Use specified SAX parser for stylesheet file, including any loaded using xsl:include or xsl:import. The parser must be the fully-qualified class name of a Java class that implements the org.xml.sax.Parser or org.xml.sax.XMLReader interface|
|-?||Display command syntax|
|source-document||Identifies the source file or directory. Mandatory. If this is a directory, all the files in the directory will be processed individually. In this case the -o option is mandatory, and must also identify a directory, to contain the corresponding output files. A directory must be specified as a filename, not as a URL.|
|stylesheet||Identifies the stylesheet. Mandatory unless the -a option is used. If the -c option is used, this argument identifies a compiled stylesheet.|
A param takes the form
name=value, name being the
name of the parameter, and value the value of the parameter. These parameters are
accessible within the stylesheet as normal variables, using the
$name syntax, provided
they are declared using a top-level xsl:param element. If there is no such declaration, the supplied
parameter value is silently ignored.
Under Windows, and some other operating systems, it is possible to supply a value containing
spaces by enclosing it in double quotes, for example
name="John Smith". This is a feature
of the operating system shell, not something Saxon does, so it may not work the
same way under every operating system.
If the parameter name is in a non-null namespace, the parameter can be given a value using
uri is the namespace URI of the
parameter's name, and
localname is the local part of the name.
If the -a option is used, the name of the stylesheet is
omitted. The source document must contain a
<?xml-stylesheet?> processing instruction
before the first element start tag; this processing instruction must have a pseudo-attribute
identifies the relative or absolute URL of the stylsheet document, and a pseudo-attribute type whose
text/xsl. For example:
<?xml-stylesheet type="text/xsl" href="../style3.xsl" ?>
It is also possible to refer to a stylesheet embedded within the source document, provided it has an id attribute and the id attribute is declared in the DTD as being of type ID. For example:
<?xml-stylesheet type="text/xsl" href="#style1" ?> <!DOCTYPE BOOKLIST SYSTEM "books.dtd" <!ATTLIST xsl:transform id ID #IMPLIED> < <BOOKLIST> ... <xsl:transform id="style1" version="1.0" xmlns:xsl="..."> ... </xsl:transform> </BOOKLIST>
Saxon (from release 7.3) allows a compiled stylesheet (a Templates object)
to be saved to disk as a file.
The transformation can then be run using this compiled stylesheet by using the -c option
to the command
The actual compilation of the stylesheet can be achieved using the command
java net.sf.saxon.Compile. The format of the command is:
java net.sf.saxon.Compile [options] stylesheet output [ params ]
The options available are a subset of the options for running a transformation, described above. The relevant options are -t (give progress messages), -u (stylesheet argument is a URI, not a filename), -r (specify a URIResolver for use at compile time), -y (specify an XML parser for parsing the source stylesheet).
You can use any file extension for the compiled stylesheet, I generally use .sxx (Saxon XSLT executable).
The file actually contains the Java serialization of a data structure that is then used at run-time to
drive the transformation process. As an alternative to using the
from the command line, you can use the Java serialization API directly, to write the net.sf.saxon.Templates
object to an ObjectOutputStream.
Stylesheet compilation is a little fragile at this release. It has proved difficult to test it
comprehensively. One known restriction is that stylesheets containing
cannot be compiled (because it uses Java classes that are not serializable). There may be other restrictions:
please let me know if you find any.
The term "compile" is stretching a point. The executable that is produced does not contain machine instructions, or even interpreted Java bytecode. It contains instructions in the form of a data structure that Saxon itself can interpret. Note that the format of compiled stylesheets is unlikely to be stable from one Saxon release to the next.
Saxon provides two implementations of the internal tree data structure (or tree model). The tree model can be chosen by an option on the command line (-dt for the tiny tree, -ds for the standard tree) or from the Java API. The default is to use the tiny tree model. The choice should make no difference to the results of a transformation (except the order of attributes and namespace declarations) but only affects performance.
There is an exception to this with release 7.3: the so-called "standard" tree model (-ds) does not support type annotations. If you want to use the new features to annotate element and attribute nodes, use the "tiny tree" (-dt).
Generally speaking, the tiny tree model is faster to build but slower to navigate. It therefore performs better when you visit each node on the tree once or less. The standard tree model may perform better (sometimes very much better) when each node is visited many times, especially when you use the preceding or preceding-sibling axis.
The tiny tree model gives most benefit when you are processing a large document. It uses a lot less memory, so it can prevent thrashing when the size of document is such that the standard tree doesn't fit in real memory.
If in doubt, stick with the default.
Rather than using the interpreter from the command line, you may want to include it in your own application, perhaps one that enables it to be used within an applet or servlet. If you run the interpreter repeatedly, this will always be much faster than running it each time from a command line.
Saxon incorporates support for the JAXP 1.1 API, also known as TrAX. This is compatible with the API for invoking other XSLT processors such as Xalan and jd-xslt.
This API is described in the documentation provided with JDK 1.4. It is available online at http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.4/docs/api/ Look for the javax.xml.transform package.
More information and examples relating to the JAXP 1.1 API can be found in the TraxExamples.java example application found in the samples directory.
The types of object that can be supplied as stylesheet parameters are not defined in the JAXP specification: they are implementation-dependent. Saxon applies the same rules for stylesheet parameters as it applies for the return value from a Java extension function: for these rules, see Saxon Extensibility
The JAXP TransformerFactory interface provides a configuration method
setAttribute() for setting implementation-defined configuration parameters. The
parameters supported by Saxon have names defined by constants in the class
net.sf.saxon.FeatureKeys. The names of these properties and their meanings,
are described in the table below.
|ALLOW_EXTERNAL_FUNCTIONS||A Boolean: true if the stylesheet allows external functions to be called.
Default is true. The setting
|TIMING||A Boolean: true if basic timing information is to be output to the standard error output stream.|
|TREE_MODEL||An Integer: Builder.STANDARD_TREE or Builder.TINY_TREE. Selects an implementation of the Saxon tree model. The default is Builder.TINY_TREE.|
|TRACE_LISTENER||An instance of the class net.sf.saxon.trace.TraceListener. This object will be notified of significant events occurring during the transformation, for tracing or debugging purposes.|
|LINE_NUMBERING||A Boolean. Indicates whether line numbers are to be maintained for the source document. This will not be possible if the source document is supplied as a DOM. The line numbers are accessible through the tracing interface, and also via the saxon:line-number() extension function.|
|RECOVERY_POLICY||An Integer. Indicates how dynamic errors should be handled. One of the values (defined as constants in the Controller class) RECOVER_SILENTLY, RECOVER_WITH_WARNINGS, or DO_NOT_RECOVER).|
|MESSAGE_EMITTER_CLASS||The full name of a class that implements the net.sf.saxon.output.Emitter interface; the class will be used to format the output of the xsl:message instruction.|
|SOURCE_PARSER_CLASS||The full name of a class that implements the org.xml.sax.XMLReader interface; the class will be used to parse source documents (that is, the principal source document plus any secondary source documents read using the document() function)|
|STYLE_PARSER_CLASS||The full name of a class that implements the org.xml.sax.XMLReader interface; the class will be used to parse stylesheet documents (that is, the principal stylesheet module plus any secondary source documents read using xsl:include or xsl:import)|
|OUTPUT_URI_RESOLVER||An instance of the class net.sf.saxon.OutputURIResolver; this object will be used to resolve URIs
of secondary result documents specified in the
|VALIDATION||A Boolean. Indicates whether the XML parser should be asked to validate source documents against their DTD. This applies to the initial source document and any source documents read using the document() function, unless handled by a user-written URIResolver.|
|NAME_POOL||A instance of class
Saxon's implementation of the JAXP
Transformer interface is the class
This provides a number of options beyond those available in the standard JAXP interface, for example the
ability to set an output URI resolver for secondary output documents. You can access these methods by casting
Transformer to a
Controller. The methods are described in the JavaDoc documentation
supplied with the product.
When using the JAXP interface, you can set serialization properties using a
object. The names of the core XSLT 1.0 properties, such as
indent, are defined in the JAXP class
Additional properties, including Saxon extensions and XSLT 2.0 extensions, have names defined by
constants in the class
net.sf.saxon.event.SaxonOutputKeys. The values of the properties
are exactly as you would specify them in the
It is possible to run Saxon from an applet in the browser. This means that the transformation will run on the client machine, which saves resources on the server. It also means that it is possible for the user to navigate around the downloaded XML document, performing repeated transformations to see different pages of data, without ever returning to the server: this too reduces load on the server, as well as giving the user an improved response time once the XML data and the supporting Saxon software (saxon7.jar is 632Kb) have been downloaded.
Because Saxon now requires JDK 1.4, you must first ensure that the Sun Java plug-in is installed as the default Java VM for your browser
To support transformations running in an applet, Saxon includes a support routine
net.sf.saxon.XSLTProcessorApplet.class which can be used to drive the transformation.
This rountine is in fact borrowed from the class of the same name included in the Xalan-Java 2.0.0
product. It drives the transformation using TrAX interfaces, which means that the code
works equally well with either product.
To use this routine, you first need to include an applet in your HTML page. This might take the form:
<applet name="xslControl" code="net.sf.saxon.XSLTProcessorApplet.class" archive="saxon7.jar" height="0" width"0"> <param name="documentURL" value="source.xml"/> <param name="styleURL" value="style.xsl"/> </applet>
For production use it is better to use the HTML
This can be used to ensure that the right Java VM is used with the applet, preventing
failures that will confuse the end user.
To run a transformation, all you have to do is to call the getHTMLText() method provided by the applet, for example
<body onLoad="target.innerHTML=document.xslControl.getHTMLText()"> <div id="target"> </body>
You can specify the source document and stylesheet dynamically using the methods
If you don't specify
a stylesheet, Saxon will try to locate one using the
instruction in the source document.
You can set parameters for the transformation (a single parameter only, unfortunately)
There are some sample applications using Saxon as an applet in
samples/applet folder. Make sure that the
is in an accessible location before you try to use them. If you want to use them as written, there
must be a copy of
saxon7.jar in the directory containing the relevant HTML pages.
Michael H. Kay
12 November 2002