SAXON Version 4.0 Released
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 10:02:01 -0000 From: Michael.Kay@icl.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: ANNOUNCING SAXON 4.0
SAXON is a Java library for processing XML documents: it provides a number of services above the SAX and DOM level to make applications easier to write and more modular. It is available as a free download with source code included.
SAXON 4.0 is available on http://home.iclweb.com/icl2/mhkay/saxon.html.
There are substantial changes in this release, notably:
Improved support for processing using the DOM, in a way that is forwards compatible with serial (SAX-based) applications: you can use the same element handlers in both modes. (This is perhaps of particular interest in the light of current xml-dev "SAX-vs-DOM" discussions). The processing model (selecting an element handler based on a pattern match) is identical to that for XSL.
Support for Stylesheets. You can now invoke many of SAXON's capabilities without writing any Java code. SAXON Stylesheets support a useful subset of XSL and provide two important additional features: the ability to create multiple output files, and the ability to freely mix XSL and Java code: XSL can be used to process some elements, and Java for others, or you can preprocess the element in Java before rendering it in XSL. Very useful if you are doing more than simple rendering, e.g., if you are loading a relational database.
(To implement some of these features I have had to make incompatible changes: existing users please read the "changes" file carefully.)
The ability to create multiple output files is particularly attractive for bulk rendering into HTML, and I'm not aware of any other tool that does it. A sample XSL stylesheet is included for rendering Jon Bosak's version of the New Testament: it is only 200 lines long, but produces a set of 292 linked HTML files in a single directory. This was previously published as a Java application: the SAXON download includes both Java and XSL versions for comparison. You can see the result of the rendition at http://www.wokchorsoc.freeserve.co.uk/bible-nt/index.html. This feature seems to fit very neatly into the XSL architecture and I commend it to the authors of the spec.
I am still working on the next important innovation, stylesheets that can be processed in a single serial pass of the source XML document: progress looks promising - though as always, I do this stuff in the gaps between revenue-earning projects.
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