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   Re: [xml-dev] XSL for non-XML input (Was: Re: [xml-dev] XML Hangover)

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On 07-13-2005 4:25 AM, Pete Cordell wrote:
> Does that imply that XSL could be used on any hierarchical text based 
> data input with a suitable front end that can extract events that mirror 
> XML's elements and attributes etc?
> Going further, observing the idea of using out of band data (e.g. 
> schema) to provide extra information to complete 'binary XML', could XSL 
> (with suitable front ends) work on say an ASN.1 encoded X.509 
> certificate (and ASN.1 message definition) and produce, say, a PDF output?
> Not that I have a need to do that right now!  I'm just interested to 
> know whether XSL can be used as a kind of universal data translator.

It's possible in several ways:

1. Michael Kay has pointed out already that XSLT 2.0 includes

2. Brian Goetz wrote an article that showed how to use the JTidy
toolkit to run XQuery against HTML, by converting it on-the-fly
to XML.  This same idea could work with XSLT.
See http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/java/library/j-jtp03225.html

3. It is already fairly common to output PDF files from XSLT
via post-processing.  This is what Apache's FOP and RenderX's XEP,
among others, already do very well.
See http://xml.apache.org/fop/ and http://www.renderx.com/tools/

4. Stylus Studio (disclaimer: our product) uses a similar idea to
provide a host of adapters for converting non-XML formats to or
from XML.  The very simplest let you run XSLT (1.0 or 2.0) or
XQuery against a comma-separated-value file, and the more complex
allow transparent operation against EDI files or relational
See http://www.stylusstudio.com/docs/v62/d_flatfileconversion10.html

I just gave a presentation on this very topic at one of our sister
division's annual conferences.  The entire presentation is at
http://www.stylusstudio.com/exchange/transforming.html - including
slides and audio.

Tony Lavinio
Stylus Studio Principal Software Architect


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