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XSL Transformation With Xalan
Take your Java/XML skills to the next level by converting your XML into other formats with the very powerful Xalan XSLT engine.

| Meeting The World's Greatest Detective |

With everything installed and configured, it's time to get your hands dirty. First up, a simple example, just to get you comfortable with how Xalan works. Consider the following XML file, snipped out from my XML-encoded address book:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
  <name>Sherlock Holmes</name>
  <title> World's Greatest Detective</title>
  <address>221B Baker Street, London, England</address>
  <tel>123 6789</tel>

Now, let's suppose I wanted to convert this snippet into the following plaintext file:

''.preg_replace(array('/  /', '/ /'), array('  ', '   '), '
Contact information for "Sherlock Holmes, World's Greatest Detective"
Mailing address: 221B Baker Street, London, England
Phone: 123 6789
Email address: sherlock@holmes.domain.com
Web site URL:  http://www.method_and_madness.com/

Here's the XSLT stylesheet to get from point A to point B:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<xsl:stylesheet version="1.0" xmlns:xsl="http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform">
<xsl:output method="text" /> 
<xsl:template match="/" >
Contact information for "<xsl:value-of select="normalize-space(me/name), <xsl:value-of select="normalize-space(me/title)" />"
Mailing address: <xsl:value-of select="normalize-space(me/address)" />
Phone: <xsl:value-of select="normalize-space(me/tel)" />
Email address: <xsl:value-of select="normalize-space(me/email)" />
Web site URL: <xsl:value-of select="normalize-space(me/url)" />

Now, we've got the XML and the XSLT. All we need is something to marry the two together.

// import required classes
import javax.xml.transform.*;
import javax.xml.transform.stream.*;
import java.io.*;

public class addressBookConverter {

  // store the names of the files
  public static String xmlFile, xslFile, resultFile = "";
  // constructor
  public addressBookConverter(String xmlFile, String xslFile, String resultFile) {
      try {

        // create an instance of the TransformerFactory
        // this allows the developer to use an API that is independent of
        // a particular XML processor implementation.
        TransformerFactory tFactory = TransformerFactory.newInstance();
        // create a transformer which takes the name of the stylesheet
        // as an input parameter.
        // this creates a Templates object which is applied to the XML file
        // in the next step
        Transformer transformer = tFactory.newTransformer(new StreamSource(xslFile));
        // transform the given XML file with the Templates object
        transformer.transform(new StreamSource(xmlFile), new StreamResult(resultFile));

        } catch (TransformerException e) { 
        System.err.println("The following error occured: " + e);
  // everything starts here
  public static void main (String[] args) {
      if(args.length != 3) {
              System.err.println("Please specify three parameters:\n1. The name and path to the XML file.\n2. The name and path to the XSL file.\n3. The name of the output file.");
      // assign the parameters passed as input parameters to
      // the variables defined above
      xmlFile = args[0];
      xslFile = args[1];
      resultFile = args[2];
      addressBookConverter myFirstExample = new addressBookConverter (xmlFile, xslFile, resultFile);


Now compile the class:

''.preg_replace(array('/  /', '/ /'), array('  ', '   '), '
$ javac addressBookConverter.java

Assuming that all goes well, you should now have a class file named "addressBookConverter.class". Copy this class file to your Java CLASSPATH, and then execute it.

$ java addressBookConverter

Ummm...Houston, we have a problem. Here's what you should see (unless you're really intelligent and spotted me setting you up):

''.preg_replace(array('/  /', '/ /'), array('  ', '   '), '
Please specify three parameters:
1. The name and path to the XML file.
2. The name and path to the XSL file.
3. The name of the output file.

Let's try it again:

So, if the XML and XSL files are placed in the same folder as our application, you can use the following syntax to run the application:

''.preg_replace(array('/  /', '/ /'), array('  ', '   '), '
$ java addressBookConverter addresses.xml addresses.xsl result.txt

And here's what you should see:

''.preg_replace(array('/  /', '/ /'), array('  ', '   '), '
Contact information for "Sherlock Holmes, World's Greatest Detective"
Mailing address: 221B BakerStreet, London, England
Phone: 123 6789
Email address: sherlock@holmes.domain.com
Web site URL: http://www.method_and_madness.com/

Let's look at the code in detail.

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