Chapter 18. Case Study: XMLSpec

This is the first of a group of three chapters that aim to show how all the facilities of the XSLT language can work together to solve real XML processing problems of significant complexity. Most of the code is presented in these chapters, but the complete stylesheets, and specimen data files, can be downloaded from the Wrox Web site at

As I described in the previous chapter, XSLT has a broad range of applications, and in these three chapters I have tried to cover a representative selection of problems. The three examples I have chosen are as follows:

  • The first example is a stylesheet for rendering sequential documents: specifically, the stylesheet used for rendering W3C specifications such as the XML and XSLT Recommendations. This is a classic example of the rule-based design pattern described on page 980 in Chapter 17.

  • The second example, in Chapter 19, is concerned with presenting structured data. I chose a complex data structure with many cross-references to illustrate how a navigational stylesheet can find its way around the source tree: the chosen example is a data file containing the family tree of the Kennedys. This example is particularly suitable for demonstrating how stylesheets and schemas can work together.

  • The final example stylesheet, in Chapter 20, is quite unrealistic but fun. It shows how XSLT can be used to calculate a knight's tour of the chessboard, in which the knight visits every square without ever landing ...

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