Working with Stylesheet Splicer

Stylesheet Splicer is a product from IBM’s Alphaworks which serves as a stylesheet processor. It is a customizable stylesheet processor with customization possible for the style sheets. It can manage multiple versions of stylesheets from a common base XSLT document. Stylesheet splicer is a software that transforms the XML document from one format to another format. The inputs for this transformation is an XML file and and XSL file.


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Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 2000 operating system is required for the installation of the Stylesheet Splicer. A minimum of 15 MB space is required for the software. The software package for installation contains two self-extracting zip files namely,

xml4C540_xlst4C17_dlls.EXE and
stylesheet_splicer_install.EXE.

Follow the steps given below to install the software:

1. Before installing this software you need to create an installation directory for the software to install. You can create a directory for the installation and then add the directory to the PATH environment variable.

2. Then you need to add a variable and value to your environment. The variable is XERCESC_NLS_HOME and its value has to be the installation directory you have created for installing the software.

Note: To add a variable to the environment you can go to Settings -> Control Panel -> System. Then select the Advanced Tab and choose the Environment Variable… button to add a new variable and set it’s value. As per the recommendations from XML4C, the environment is necessary, though the software may run without the environment variable.

3. Unzip the self extracting file xml4C540_xlst4C17_dlls.EXE to the installation directory you have created.

4. Unzip the self extracting file stylesheet_splicer_install.EXE in the same installation directory or any directory in the PATH list.

Note: When you unzip this file make sure that you are selecting the Recreate Subdirectories option.

5. To start the software, go to the command prompt and type “styler”. This starts the Stylesheet Splicer software.

This software does not create stylesheet but it assembles the different parts of the stylesheet given as input as and when necessary to give a desired output. Consider a scenario, where you are transforming an XML document using a XSL file. This XML document may have different stylesheets available and any one of the stylesheet would be used depending on the requirement.

There is every chance that parts of an XSL file to get repeated in another XSL file under this scenario. This is where software like Stylesheet splicer comes in. Stylesheet splicer stores unique parts of the stylesheets as different smaller XSL files so that these smaller XSL files are assembled during runtime to give you the version of the document that is required by the user. This ensures that you don’t have any duplication of code in the XSL stylesheet. This also ensures that change management is handled very easily when compared to the situation where you have large XSL files for transformation of the XML documents.

During transformation the user is prompted to select the smaller XSL files that are required for the transformation and after selection the transformation occurs. This gives you the desired output, since the stylesheet files are selected during runtime. The user is prompted to select the stylesheet files through popup windows. These popup windows also allows the user to select the XSLT parameter values during runtime. The user is also prompted to select the path to the DTD file so that it enables to change the DTD file also for validating the XML document.

The Stylesheet splicer software requires the DLLs of XML4C 5.4 and XSLT4C 1.7, which are included in the Stylesheet Splicer package. The stylesheet splicer software thus helps in maintaining a library of stylesheets to increase the efficiency of transformation. Maintaining different stylesheets for a major constraint associated with the XSLT language. This is overcome by this software.

To work with this software you need an XML document and a XSL stylesheet at the minimum. The users need not know XML or XSLT for using this software. The software has multi-document interface (MDI) windows that are used by the user to transform an XML file. The following steps are performed to get your required transformation of the XML document.

1. Open the XML source document in the MDI window of the software.

Note: At this stage the user can edit the values in the XML document.

2. After editing the data in the XML document, Save it to another document.

3. Select a single XSL fle name required for the transformation.

4. Select a .BLD file to transform the XML document.

Note: A .BLD file displays the popup windows to the user to select the segments of the XSL file that is required for the transformation of the XML document. This .BLD file also allows the user to enter the parameter values that are passed to the XSLT file for transformation.

5. Select a DTD file that is used for the validation of the XML document. Only when error occurs in validation, the user is prompted about the validation, otherwise the validation is invisible.

Thus Stylesheet splicer is a software for dynamically selecting the XSL segments for transformation of an XML document. This helps is producing multiple versions of XSL stylesheets for the same XML document without duplication of XSL code.



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