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Java and XML by Brett McLaughlin

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The Components

As useful as these XML transformations can be, they are not very simple to implement. In fact, rather than trying to specify the transformation of XML in the original XML 1.0 specification, three separate recommendations have come out to define how transformations should occur. Although one of these (XPath) is also used in the XPointer specification, by far the most common use of the components we outline here is to transform XML from one format into another.

Because these three specifications are tied together tightly, and are almost always used in concert, there is rarely a clear distinction between them. This can often make for a discussion that is easy to understand, but not necessarily technically correct. In other words, the term XSLT, which refers specifically to extensible stylesheet transformations, is often applied to both extensible stylesheets (XSL) and XPath. In the same fashion, XSL is often used as a grouping term for all three technologies. In this section, we will distinguish among the three recommendations, and remain true to the letter of the specifications outlining these technologies. However, in the interest of clarity, we will resume using XSL and XSLT interchangeably to refer to the complete transformation process throughout the rest of the book. Although this may not follow the letter of these specifications, it certainly follows their spirit, as well as helping to avoid unnecessary confusion.

The Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL)

XSL is ...

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