Render xml as html

07 Feb 2015

Sometimes when working with xml you have more information in the xml file than you know what to do with in your code. It could be new tags or attributes. A way to use the xml you have not anticipated in your code. A simple way to present that information to the user (so that they can inform you when you’re doing wrong) is to apply a general xml stylesheet.

First part of the trick is to tell xml that you intend to output html:

<xsl:output ... method="html" omit-xml-declaration="yes"/>

Next step is to create a root html (in order to be able to add style and scripts). In order to apply the rest o our xsl templates we need to apply the other templates:

<xsl:template match="/">

To render all the child-nodes we do the following:

<xsl:template match="node()">

Any attributes? By using @* we can pick out the xml attributes. If they show different intent it could be that we want to style them differently.

<xsl:if test="@*">

Any child nodes?

<xsl:if test="node()">

One thing you could do is to pass along the nesting as a parameter to the templates. Then you can add a different class to depending on how deep the element is.

If you want to call a template with parameters:

<xsl:call-template name="some-template">
    <xsl:with-param name="value" select="."/>
<xsl:template name="some-template">
    <xsl:param name="value"/>

Xml style sheets are a bit weird to work with. They should probably be avoided for many tasks. However, for some problems they can be quite useful.



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