Chapter 16. XSLT 2.0 and XPath 2.0

Although XSLT 2.0 and XPath 2.0 are still working drafts at the time of this writing, they are nearing completion, and there are some partial implementations available for these specs, such as Saxon 7.7 (check for the latest version). This chapter attempts to summarize some of the more interesting features in these specifications, and demonstrates a few of them, too. But it won’t be an exhaustive review of XSLT 2.0 or XPath 2.0, partly because these specs are still changing, and partly because an exhaustive review would take up a whole book by itself.


The material in this chapter is based on the May 2003 working drafts of XSLT 2.0 and XPath 2.0, so it is possible that things will change in those drafts by the time you read this.

First of all, I’ll highlight some of the changes that have been made since XSLT 1.0 and XPath 1.0, and I’ll also mention a few of the features that have been added. Then I’ll show you how you can put some of this new stuff to work today.

Rather than just two specifications, as is the case with XSLT 1.0 and XPath 1.0, the next versions of these specs are broken into five documents. Three new documents have been broken out for those features of XSLT and XPath that also support the XML Query Language (see

XSL Transformations (XSLT) Version 2.0 (see

This evolution of the XSLT 1.0 specification is about twice as long as its predecessor. Although ...

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