What Is XSLT?


Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT) has evolved from the early Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) standard. XSL specifies a language definition for XML data presentation and data transformations. Data presentation means displaying data in some format and/or medium. Presentation is about style. Data transformation means parsing an input XML document into a tree of nodes, and then converting the source tree into a result tree. Transformation is about data exchange.

Because these functionalities serve two distinct purposes, XSLT was proposed and later accepted as a separate standard for XML data transformation only. XSL is now generally referred to as XSL Formatting Objects (XSL-FO), to distinguish it from XSLT. The future of XSL-FO as a standard is uncertain, because much of its functionality overlaps with that provided by cascading style sheets (CSS) and the HTML tag set. If cross-vendor compatibility is important, you might want to avoid XSL-FO until it becomes a standard fully accepted by the Worldwide Web Consortium.

System_CAPS_ICON_note.jpg Note

MSXML versions 4.0 and later fully implement and support XSL Transformations (XSLT) Version 1.0 (W3C Recommendation 16 November 1999). If your XML application requires a later version of XSLT, Microsoft strongly recommends moving to the newer System.Xml framework classes, because all future XML development efforts will be focused there.

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