This document describes the XSLT-process, a minor mode for (X)Emacs
which allows running an XSLT processor on a buffer.
* What is it and how to use it?::
* Future enhancements::
What is it and how to use it?
Have you ever developed XML applications using XSLT? If so you
probably felt the need of viewing the result of applying the XSLT
processor on the XML file using an XSLT sheet you have been working on
right inside your (X)Emacs, without having to go to a terminal or to
the Web browser. This minor mode allows you to do it!
The _XSLT-process_ minor mode allows you, while you're inside a
buffer for which this minor mode is enabled, to enter a few keystrokes
that will invoke the XSLT processor of choice on the buffer. The result
is displayed in another (X)Emacs buffer, that allows you to quickly
view and inspect the results.
The XSLT file that's used to process the file should be specified
inside the XML file using the XML processing instruction
`xml-stylesheet', like this:
<?xml-stylesheet href="URL/to/XSLT/file" type="text/xsl"?>
You can use any URI understood by your Java system, e.g. file, HTTP
or FTP, to refer to a stylesheet. The XSLT engine will download the
stylesheet from the remote location and make use of it locally. With the
TrAX interface (*note Supported XSLT processors::), the stylesheet is
cached in the processor, so further invocations of the XSLT processor
won't process the stylesheet again, unless the stylesheet is modified.
You can use URLs which are relative to the location of your XML file.
For example if you have an XSLT file `page-html.xsl' in the same
directory as the XML file you can simply have inside the XML file the
following processing instruction:
<?xml-stylesheet href="page-html.xsl" type="text/xsl"?>
The _XSLT-process_ mode was designed to work with any XSLT processor
written in the Java language. Support for processors written in
programming languages other than Java may require some work.
This mode depends on a few other packages:
* *an XSLT processor*: You definitely need an XSLT processor for
this (X)Emacs mode to work! This package doesn't come with an
XSLT processor integrated, so you need to download and install one
(*note Supported XSLT processors:: for supported XSLT processors).
Installing an XSLT processor is nothing else than placing the jar
file in the Java CLASSPATH.
You can either put the jar file in the system's CLASSPATH
environment variable or use _XSLT-process_'s customization to
setup the additional classpath. The supporting Java code expects
the Java XSLT processor to be in the classpath, so make sure you
define it one way or the other.
* *JDE*: _XSLT-process_ was tested with JDE version 2.2.2, but it
should work with newer versions as well. Please make sure you
follow all the installation instructions on JDE's Web site
* *Elib*: This package is a package JDE depends on, but I list it
here to insure it's installed. If this package is missing, you'll
get an error about the `avltree' package not found. This is a
frequently asked question on the JDE's mailing list, so please
make sure you don't ask it one more time.
If the above packages are not already installed on your system, you
can install them in an `emacs' directory in your home directory. Then
add the following lines in your `.emacs' configuration file:
(append (list "~/emacs/xslt-process-1.2.1/lisp"
(autoload 'xslt-process-mode "xslt-process"
"Run XSLT processor on buffer" t)
These lines add the needed packages in your emacs `load-path'
variable, and make known the _XSLT-process_ minor mode to your (X)Emacs.
After the _XSLT-process_ mode has been made available to (X)Emacs,
you can enable the minor mode on a per-buffer basis by running `M-x
xslt-process-mode'. Or you can invoke `xslt-process-mode' from the
mode's hook, *note Setting up PSGML with XSLT-process:: for an example
on how you can do it.
* Supported XSLT processors::
* Setting up PSGML with XSLT-process::
* Key binding::
* Temporarily changing the XSLT processor::
* Additional parameters passed to Cocoon::
Supported XSLT processors
In this version the _XSLT-process_ minor mode supports the following
* generic TrAX processor
Any XSLT processor that implements the TrAX interface as defined
in the JAXP 1.1 should work. The currently tested XSLT processors
are Saxon 6.2 and Xalan 2.0.
* Saxon (http://users.iclway.co.uk/mhkay/saxon/)
Both Saxon version 5.5.1, 6.0 and 6.1 are supported through the
Saxon interface. If you have a version equal or newer than 6.2,
the TrAX interface should be used instead. If you use the 6.0.1
version, beware that it prints some annoying messages to stdout
which show up in the buffer of additional messages.
* Xalan 1.2 (http://xml.apache.org/xalan/)
Xalan 1.2 is supported using the Xalan1 interface.
* Cocoon 1.8.x (http://xml.apache.org/cocoon/)
Although Cocoon is not an XSLT processor, but rather an XML
publishing framework, I added support for it as I'm using it quite
extensively. This was in fact the primary reason I started
_XSLT-process_: I got really tired of restarting Apache each time I
was doing a change in either an XML file or an XSLT sheet.
Setting up PSGML with XSLT-process
The XSLT-process minor mode works really nice in conjuction with the
PSGML major mode for SGML and XML editing.
To setup the XSLT-process minor mode to be automatically enabled
whenever you edit an XML file under PSGML, add the below lines in your
`.emacs'. I assume you have already added the configuration lines
mentioned in *note Installation::.
(append '(("\\.xml$" . xml-mode)) auto-mode-alist))
(add-hook 'xml-mode-hook 'xslt-process-mode)
If you're using a different major mode for editing XML documents, you
can setup the mode's hook in a similar way as above to automatically
enable the _XSLT-process_ minor mode.
To invoke the XSLT processor on a file, position the point inside the
buffer and type `C-c C-x C-v'. You can customize the key binding by
invoking `M-x customize-group RET xslt-process' and updating the key
binding in the appropriate customization option.
The first time you invoke the XSLT processor on a buffer, the
_XSLT-process_ mode will start-up the Java Bean Shell
(http://www.beanshell.org/), a Java helper program as a separate
process running in the background. This operation may take some time,
however further invocations of the processor are very fast as the JVM
is started and all the classes are already loaded.
The XSLT processor will look into your XML file for an
`xml-stylesheet' processing instruction specifying the XSLT file to be
used to process the file.
There are several things you might want to customize. You can get to
the customization page by typing `M-x customize-group RET xslt-process'
or by choosing the following menu path in XEmacs: `Options -> Emacs ->
Programming -> Tools -> Xslt Process'.
To choose the XSLT processor of your choice update the _Default
If you're using Cocoon as the processor, you should also specify the
location of the properties file, otherwise you'll get an error at
Temporarily changing the XSLT processor
If you want to experiment what are the results of your stylesheets
using different XSLT processors, going through the customization page
and changing the processor can be quite an involved process.
You can specify the processor you want to be applied to your file
right inside the file. Just add a _Local Variables_ section at the end
of your XML file and specify within it what should be the XSLT
processor to be invoked using the `processor' variable. For example, by
adding the following section at the end of your file, you specify
_Saxon_ to be used as the XSLT processor, no matter what is the global
setting in the customization page:
In this release, the acceptable values for `processor' are `TrAX',
`Saxon', `Xalan1', and `Cocoon1'. By replacing the value of
`processor', you can run any of the supported processors on your file.
Note however that in this release the TrAX processor which is chosen
is the first processor that appears in the `CLASSPATH'. If you want to
experiment with multiple TrAX processors, you will need to change the
order of the processors in the `CLASSPATH' and restart the BSH process
(just kill the `*bsh*' buffer, the next time you invoke the XSLT
processor, _XSLT-process_ will automatically restart BSH).
* Additional parameters passed to Cocoon::
Additional parameters passed to Cocoon
It is possible to pass additional parameters to a Cocoon processor
using `user-agent' local variable in an Emacs buffer:
In this example the user agent of the requesting browser appears to
Cocoon as being _UP.Browser_. If no user agent is specified, by default
Cocoon will consider the requesting browser as being HTML capable, thus
transforming the output to HTML.
These are the changes since the 1.2 release:
* Fixed problem in accessing stylesheets referred by `file:' URIs on
Windows. Reported by Nicolas Kessler (mailto:email@example.com).
This is the list of changes since the 1.1 release.
* Added support for the TrAX interface, thanks to Allan Erskine
(mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org). Currently Saxon 6.2 and Xalan2
have been tested. The TrAX interface caches the XSLT stylesheets
in the processor driver in a compiled form, so the speed of the
processing is increased.
* The mode is now running with GNU Emacs on Windows NT/2000, thanks
to Allan Erskine (mailto:email@example.com) for figuring out
* Changed again the keyboard binding to `C-c C-x C-v', as `C-M-x'
doesn't work on Windows systems.
* The documentation has been reorganized a little bit to be more
This is the list of changes since the 1.0 release.
* The `xslt-process-additional-classpath' customization variable has
been introduced. Setup this variable with any additional Java
classpath components you want to be passed to the BeanShell when
is first invoked. If you already started a BeanShell, you need to
kill the corresponding buffer (named `*bsh*') and restart it by
invoking _XSLT-process_ on a buffer. (Suggestion from T. V. Raman
* Allow for passing the user agent to the Cocoon processor so that
multiple browser types can be simulated. This works with a patch I
submitted against Cocoon 1.8-dev; it was incorporated and should be
available in the 1.8.1 release. If you need the patch before this
release, feel free to contact me, I'll gladly send it to you.
* The way the error messages are displayed has changed, now error
messages messages encountered during the JVM startup process also
go in the `*xslt-output*' buffer.
* The default keybinding has been changed to `C-M-x' instead of `C-c
x', to conform to the (X)Emacs keybinding standards.
I have few ideas on how this mode could be improved, however they
may or may not appear in the next version of this package.
* Add check to observe changes in the Java additional classpath and
restart BSH if such changes occur while it's running.
* Add an additional buffer local variable to specify additional
arguments to the XSLT processor. These arguments could then be
read in the XSLT stylesheet using the `xsl:param' element.
* Introduce the ability to process an XML document with an XSLT
stylesheet, without using the `xml-stylesheet' processing
instruction inside the XML document. Define user customizable menu
entries for the XSLT stylesheets.
This would be really handy for people doing DocBook editing for
example, as the DocBook stylesheets live somewhere on the disk and
you don't want to put references to them in the XML documents.
* Provide the ability to view the result of processing in a browser,
in addition to viewing them in (X)Emacs. This again would be handy
for people doing HTML or WML authoring.
I would appreciate any feedback on the _XSLT-process_ mode; please
send it to Ovidiu Predescu (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org).
The home page of the _XSLT-process_ package is: