XML Transformations

If you are developing an application that must exchange XML messages with an application that was developed by someone else, odds are that your messaging schemas and the other person's messaging schemas are not an exact match. Even within the same industry, different companies have different terms for their data elements and often focus on different pieces of data, which can cause one person's version of an XML message to look nothing at all like another person's version of the same message. In cases like these, you need a tool that will translate one message schema into a schema that your application can understand and work with. That tool is eXtensible Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT), which is sometimes simply called transformations.

An XSLT transformation document is a standalone file that is based on the XML technology. Using tags and logic statements, the XSLT file can act as a conversion tool that can read in a file of XML, translate its contents to a different schema, and write out this newly formatted file. The output file will always be text-based, but it may not always be an XML message. You can create XSLT transformation files that convert XML messages into other formats, such as an HTML Web page. If you are developing a Web application, you might use XML to move data around on the application servers, but when it comes time to send the results to the user's Web browsers, XML alone will not work. However, you can perform a transformation of your XML data into HTML and provide the browser with a neatly formatted page for display.

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