How to Create XSL From an XML File

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XSL is a stylesheet language used to format elements created in XML. Therefore, XSL is typically written by hand using a stylesheet editor. XSL is supported by most major Web development tools, including Dreamweaver and Microsoft’s Visual Web Developer. Stylesheet generators are freely available on the Web. However, it is a simple matter to create an XSL stylesheet that prints all XML elements in your document.

  • Create a new XSL file using your XML/XSL editor.

  • If it has not been automatically inserted by the XML editor, create a <stylesheet> declaration as follows:
    <xsl:stylesheet version="1.0" xmlns:xsl="http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform&quot;>

  • Set your output method to XML as shown:
    <xsl:output method="xml" />

  • Create a template that copies all of the elements in your document:
    <xsl:template match="@* | node()">

        &lt;xsl:copy>
    &lt;xsl:apply-templates select=&quot;@* | node()&quot;/>
    &lt;/xsl:copy>
    &lt;/xsl:template>
  • Add your closing </xsl:stylesheet> tag.

  • Save and test your file. The resulting transformation will display the content from every element in your XML file.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you receive errors, ensure that your XSL file is both valid and well formed.
  • Not all XML processors require an <apply-templates> element. Microsoft technology, however, requires this statement.
  • Some visual tools will allow you to map your XML elements and generate XSL automatically.
  • The relationships between XML, XSL, and software development environments can be complex. Ensure that you can successfully run a basic example in your environment before attempting more complex transformations.

References

  • Photo Credit Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images
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