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Understanding XSLT Transformations: Matching and Selecting with Templates


This article mainly concentrates on the basics of “matching” and “selecting” different areas of XML and transforming those using different templates. This is the second part of the "Understanding XSLT Transformations" series. If you are new to the series, I strongly encourage you to go through the first article of this series.

Author Info:
By: Jagadish Chaterjee
Rating: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars / 7
January 04, 2006
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. · Understanding XSLT Transformations: Matching and Selecting with Templates
  2. · Matching with the particular node and selecting with "current context"
  3. · Matching with “root”, “particular node” and selecting in different ways
  4. · What are the default templates?

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Understanding XSLT Transformations: Matching and Selecting with Templates
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A downloadable file for this article is available here.

You can test all of the examples of this article with the utility I enclosed in my first article (developed using Visual Studio 2005).  Remember that the utility (or the “exe”) works only on computers where .NET Framework 2.0 is installed (.NET framework 2.0 is freely downloadable from the Microsoft website).

Matching with “root” and selecting with “current context”

This example mainly contains two files. The first would be an XML file (Sample2.xml) and the second would be an XSL file (Sample2_1.xsl).  Let us go through the “Sample2.xml” first.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<?xml-stylesheet type="text/xsl" href="Sample2_6.xsl"?>
<Names>
            these are the names
            <Name>Jag</Name>
            <Name>Win</Name>
            <Name>Dhan</Name>
            <Name>Ram</Name>
</Names>

I developed the above XML only for testing with several scenarios.  So, I ask that you not worry about the proper XML structure conformances. Now, let us look at “Sample2_1.xsl”:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<xsl:stylesheet version="1.0"
  xmlns:xsl=http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform>
    <xsl:output method="html"/>
    <xsl:template match="/">
      <html>
        <body>
          <b>
            <xsl:value-of select="."/>
          </b>
        </body>
      </html>
    </xsl:template>
</xsl:stylesheet>

The most important statements of the whole XSL are the following:

            <xsl:template match="/">
                        …
                        <xsl:value-of select="."/>
                        …
            </xsl:template>

The matching is based on “root node” which is “/”.  The selection is based on “.”.  The “dot” refers to the current context, which finds “Names” from the “root node”.  The “dot” retrieves all the text of the current node as well as all nested nodes of the same.  And thus you will have output something like the following:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-16"?>
<html>
            <body>
                        <b>
            these are the names
            Jag
            Win
            Dhan
            Ram
</b>
            </body>
</html>


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