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    </style><title>Writing extensions</title></head><body bgcolor="#8b7765" text="#000000" link="#a06060" vlink="#000000"><table border="0" width="100%" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0" align="center"><tr><td width="120"><a href="http://swpat.ffii.org/"><img src="epatents.png" alt="Action against software patents" /></a></td><td width="180"><a href="http://www.gnome.org/"><img src="gnome2.png" alt="GNOME2 Logo" /></a><a href="http://www.w3.org/Status"><img src="w3c.png" alt="W3C logo" /></a><a href="http://www.redhat.com"><img src="redhat.gif" alt="Red Hat Logo" /></a><div align="left"><a href="http://xmlsoft.org/XSLT/"><img src="Libxslt-Logo-180x168.gif" alt="Made with Libxslt Logo" /></a></div></td><td><table border="0" width="90%" cellpadding="2" cellspacing="0" align="center" bgcolor="#000000"><tr><td><table width="100%" border="0" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="3" bgcolor="#fffacd"><tr><td align="center"><h1>The XSLT C library for GNOME</h1><h2>Writing extensions</h2></td></tr></table></td></tr></table></td></tr></table><table border="0" cellpadding="4" cellspacing="0" width="100%" align="center"><tr><td bgcolor="#8b7765"><table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="2" width="100%"><tr><td valign="top" width="200" bgcolor="#8b7765"><table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="1" width="100%" bgcolor="#000000"><tr><td><table width="100%" border="0" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="3"><tr><td colspan="1" bgcolor="#eecfa1" align="center"><center><b>Main Menu</b></center></td></tr><tr><td bgcolor="#fffacd"><form action="search.php" enctype="application/x-www-form-urlencoded" method="get"><input name="query" type="text" size="20" value="" /><input name="submit" type="submit" value="Search ..." /></form><ul><li><a href="index.html">Home</a></li><li><a href="intro.html">Introduction</a></li><li><a href="docs.html">Documentation</a></li><li><a href="bugs.html">Reporting bugs and getting help</a></li><li><a href="help.html">How to help</a></li><li><a href="downloads.html">Downloads</a></li><li><a href="FAQ.html">FAQ</a></li><li><a href="news.html">News</a></li><li><a href="xsltproc2.html">The xsltproc tool</a></li><li><a href="docbook.html">DocBook</a></li><li><a href="API.html">The programming API</a></li><li><a href="python.html">Python and bindings</a></li><li><a href="internals.html">Library internals</a></li><li><a href="extensions.html">Writing extensions</a></li><li><a href="contribs.html">Contributions</a></li><li><a href="EXSLT/index.html" style="font-weight:bold">libexslt</a></li><li><a href="xslt.html">flat page</a>, <a href="site.xsl">stylesheet</a></li><li><a href="html/index.html" style="font-weight:bold">API Menu</a></li><li><a href="ChangeLog.html">ChangeLog</a></li></ul></td></tr></table><table width="100%" border="0" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="3"><tr><td colspan="1" bgcolor="#eecfa1" align="center"><center><b>Related links</b></center></td></tr><tr><td bgcolor="#fffacd"><ul><li><a href="tutorial/libxslttutorial.html">Tutorial</a>,
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  <li><a href="extensions.html#Basics">Basics</a></li>
  <li><a href="extensions.html#Keep">Extension modules</a></li>
  <li><a href="extensions.html#Registerin">Registering a module</a></li>
  <li><a href="extensions.html#module">Loading a module</a></li>
  <li><a href="extensions.html#Registerin1">Registering an extension
  <li><a href="extensions.html#Implementi">Implementing an extension
  <li><a href="extensions.html#Examples">Examples for extension
  <li><a href="extensions.html#Registerin2">Registering an extension
  <li><a href="extensions.html#Implementi1">Implementing an extension
  <li><a href="extensions.html#Example">Example for extension
  <li><a href="extensions.html#shutdown">The shutdown of a module</a></li>
  <li><a href="extensions.html#Future">Future work</a></li>
</ul><h3><a name="Introducti1" id="Introducti1">Introduction</a></h3><p>This document describes the work needed to write extensions to the
standard XSLT library for use with <a href="http://xmlsoft.org/XSLT/">libxslt</a>, the <a href="http://www.w3.org/TR/xslt">XSLT</a> C library developed for the <a href="http://www.gnome.org/">GNOME</a> project.</p><p>Before starting reading this document it is highly recommended to get
familiar with <a href="internals.html">the libxslt internals</a>.</p><p>Note: this documentation is by definition incomplete and I am not good at
spelling, grammar, so patches and suggestions are <a href="mailto:veillard@redhat.com">really welcome</a>.</p><h3><a name="Basics" id="Basics">Basics</a></h3><p>The <a href="http://www.w3.org/TR/xslt">XSLT specification</a> provides
two <a href="http://www.w3.org/TR/xslt">ways to extend an XSLT engine</a>:</p><ul><li>providing <a href="http://www.w3.org/TR/xslt">new extension
    functions</a> which can be called from XPath expressions</li>
  <li>providing <a href="http://www.w3.org/TR/xslt">new extension
    elements</a> which can be inserted in stylesheets</li>
</ul><p>In both cases the extensions need to be associated to a new namespace,
i.e. an URI used as the name for the extension's namespace (there is no need
to have a resource there for this to work).</p><p>libxslt provides a few extensions itself, either in the libxslt namespace
"http://xmlsoft.org/XSLT/namespace" or in namespaces for other well known
extensions provided by other XSLT processors like Saxon, Xalan or XT.</p><h3><a name="Keep" id="Keep">Extension modules</a></h3><p>Since extensions are bound to a namespace name, usually sets of extensions
coming from a given source are using the same namespace name defining in
practice a group of extensions providing elements, functions or both. From
the libxslt point of view those are considered as an "extension module", and
most of the APIs work at a module point of view.</p><p>Registration of new functions or elements are bound to the activation of
the module. This is currently done by declaring the namespace as an extension
by using the attribute  <code>extension-element-prefixes</code> on the
<code><a href="http://www.w3.org/TR/xslt">xsl:stylesheet</a></code>
element.</p><p>An extension module is defined by 3 objects:</p><ul><li>the namespace name associated</li>
  <li>an initialization function</li>
  <li>a shutdown function</li>
</ul><h3><a name="Registerin" id="Registerin">Registering a module</a></h3><p>Currently a libxslt module has to be compiled within the application using
libxslt. There is no code to load dynamically shared libraries associated to
a namespace (this may be added but is likely to become a portability
nightmare).</p><p>The current way to register a module is to link the code implementing it
with the application and to call a registration function:</p><pre>int xsltRegisterExtModule(const xmlChar *URI,
                          xsltExtInitFunction initFunc,
                          xsltExtShutdownFunction shutdownFunc);</pre><p>The associated header is read by:</p><pre>#include&lt;libxslt/extensions.h&gt;</pre><p>which also defines the type for the initialization and shutdown
functions</p><h3><a name="module" id="module">Loading a module</a></h3><p>Once the module URI has been registered and if the XSLT processor detects
that a given stylesheet needs the functionalities of an extended module, this
one is initialized.</p><p>The xsltExtInitFunction type defines the interface for an initialization
 * xsltExtInitFunction:
 * @ctxt:  an XSLT transformation context
 * @URI:  the namespace URI for the extension
 * A function called at initialization time of an XSLT
 * extension module
 * Returns a pointer to the module specific data for this
 * transformation
typedef void *(*xsltExtInitFunction)(xsltTransformContextPtr ctxt,
                                     const xmlChar *URI);</pre><p>There are 3 things to notice:</p><ul><li>The function gets passed the namespace name URI as an argument. This
    allows a single function to provide the initialization for multiple
    logical modules.</li>
  <li>It also gets passed a transformation context. The initialization is
    done at run time before any processing occurs on the stylesheet but it
    will be invoked separately each time for each transformation.</li>
  <li>It returns a pointer.  This can be used to store module specific
    information which can be retrieved later when a function or an element
    from the extension is used.  An obvious example is a connection to a
    database which should be kept and reused along with the transformation.
    NULL is a perfectly valid return; there is no way to indicate a failure
    at this level</li>
</ul><p>What this function is expected to do is:</p><ul><li>prepare the context for this module (like opening the database
  <li>register the extensions specific to this module</li>
</ul><h3><a name="Registerin1" id="Registerin1">Registering an extension function</a></h3><p>There is a single call to do this registration:</p><pre>int xsltRegisterExtFunction(xsltTransformContextPtr ctxt,
                            const xmlChar *name,
                            const xmlChar *URI,
                            xmlXPathEvalFunc function);</pre><p>The registration is bound to a single transformation instance referred by
ctxt, name is the UTF8 encoded name for the NCName of the function, and URI
is the namespace name for the extension (no checking is done, a module could
register functions or elements from a different namespace, but it is not
recommended).</p><h3><a name="Implementi" id="Implementi">Implementing an extension function</a></h3><p>The implementation of the function must have the signature of a libxml
XPath function:</p><pre>/**
 * xmlXPathEvalFunc:
 * @ctxt: an XPath parser context
 * @nargs: the number of arguments passed to the function
 * an XPath evaluation function, the parameters are on the
 * XPath context stack

typedef void (*xmlXPathEvalFunc)(xmlXPathParserContextPtr ctxt,
                                 int nargs);</pre><p>The context passed to an XPath function is not an XSLT context but an <a href="internals.html#XPath1">XPath context</a>. However it is possible to
find one from the other:</p><ul><li>The function xsltXPathGetTransformContext provides this lookup facility:
                          (xmlXPathParserContextPtr ctxt);</pre>
  <li>The <code>xmlXPathContextPtr</code> associated to an
    <code>xsltTransformContext</code> is stored in the <code>xpathCtxt</code>
</ul><p>The first thing an extension function may want to do is to check the
arguments passed on the stack, the <code>nargs</code> parameter will tell how
many of them were provided on the XPath expression. The macro valuePop will
extract them from the XPath stack:</p><pre>#include &lt;libxml/xpath.h&gt;
#include &lt;libxml/xpathInternals.h&gt;

xmlXPathObjectPtr obj = valuePop(ctxt); </pre><p>Note that <code>ctxt</code> is the XPath context not the XSLT one. It is
then possible to examine the content of the value. Check <a href="internals.html#Descriptio">the description of XPath objects</a> if
necessary. The following is a common sequence checking whether the argument
passed is a string and converting it using the built-in XPath
<code>string()</code> function if this is not the case:</p><pre>if (obj-&gt;type != XPATH_STRING) {
    valuePush(ctxt, obj);
    xmlXPathStringFunction(ctxt, 1);
    obj = valuePop(ctxt);
}</pre><p>Most common XPath functions are available directly at the C level and are
exported either in <code>&lt;libxml/xpath.h&gt;</code> or in
<code>&lt;libxml/xpathInternals.h&gt;</code>.</p><p>The extension function may also need to retrieve the data associated to
this module instance (the database connection in the previous example) this
can be done using the xsltGetExtData:</p><pre>void * xsltGetExtData(xsltTransformContextPtr ctxt,
                      const xmlChar *URI);</pre><p>Again the URI to be provided is the one which was used when registering
the module.</p><p>Once the function finishes, don't forget to:</p><ul><li>push the return value on the stack using <code>valuePush(ctxt,
  <li>deallocate the parameters passed to the function using
</ul><h3><a name="Examples" id="Examples">Examples for extension functions</a></h3><p>The module libxslt/functions.c contains the sources of the XSLT built-in
functions, including document(), key(), generate-id(), etc. as well as a full
example module at the end. Here is the test function implementation for the
libxslt:test function:</p><pre>/**
 * xsltExtFunctionTest:
 * @ctxt:  the XPath Parser context
 * @nargs:  the number of arguments
 * function libxslt:test() for testing the extensions support.
static void
xsltExtFunctionTest(xmlXPathParserContextPtr ctxt, int nargs)
    xsltTransformContextPtr tctxt;
    void *data;

    tctxt = xsltXPathGetTransformContext(ctxt);
    if (tctxt == NULL) {
            "xsltExtFunctionTest: failed to get the transformation context\n");
    data = xsltGetExtData(tctxt, (const xmlChar *) XSLT_DEFAULT_URL);
    if (data == NULL) {
            "xsltExtFunctionTest: failed to get module data\n");
                     "libxslt:test() called with %d args\n", nargs);
}</pre><h3><a name="Registerin2" id="Registerin2">Registering an extension element</a></h3><p>There is a single call to do this registration:</p><pre>int xsltRegisterExtElement(xsltTransformContextPtr ctxt,
                           const xmlChar *name,
                           const xmlChar *URI,
                           xsltTransformFunction function);</pre><p>It is similar to the mechanism used to register an extension function,
except that the signature of an extension element implementation is
different.</p><p>The registration is bound to a single transformation instance referred to
by ctxt, name is the UTF8 encoded name for the NCName of the element, and URI
is the namespace name for the extension (no checking is done, a module could
register elements for a different namespace, but it is not recommended).</p><h3><a name="Implementi1" id="Implementi1">Implementing an extension element</a></h3><p>The implementation of the element must have the signature of an XSLT
transformation function:</p><pre>/** 
 * xsltTransformFunction: 
 * @ctxt: the XSLT transformation context
 * @node: the input node
 * @inst: the stylesheet node 
 * @comp: the compiled information from the stylesheet 
 * signature of the function associated to elements part of the
 * stylesheet language like xsl:if or xsl:apply-templates.
typedef void (*xsltTransformFunction)
                          (xsltTransformContextPtr ctxt,
                           xmlNodePtr node,
                           xmlNodePtr inst,
                           xsltStylePreCompPtr comp);</pre><p>The first argument is the XSLT transformation context. The second and
third arguments are xmlNodePtr i.e. internal memory <a href="internals.html#libxml">representation of  XML nodes</a>. They are
respectively <code>node</code> from the the input document being transformed
by the stylesheet and <code>inst</code> the extension element in the
stylesheet. The last argument is <code>comp</code> a pointer to a precompiled
representation of <code>inst</code> but usually for an extension function
this value is <code>NULL</code> by default (it could be added and associated
to the instruction in <code>inst-&gt;_private</code>).</p><p>The same functions are available from a function implementing an extension
element as in an extension function, including
<code>xsltGetExtData()</code>.</p><p>The goal of an extension element being usually to enrich the generated
output, it is expected that they will grow the currently generated output
tree. This can be done by grabbing ctxt-&gt;insert which is the current
libxml node being generated (Note this can also be the intermediate value
tree being built for example to initialize a variable, the processing should
be similar). The functions for libxml tree manipulation from <a href="http://xmlsoft.org/html/libxml-tree.html">&lt;libxml/tree.h&gt;</a> can
be employed to extend or modify the tree, but it is required to preserve the
insertion node and its ancestors since there are existing pointers to those
elements still in use in the XSLT template execution stack.</p><h3><a name="Example" id="Example">Example for extension elements</a></h3><p>The module libxslt/transform.c contains the sources of the XSLT built-in
elements, including xsl:element, xsl:attribute, xsl:if, etc. There is a small
but full example in functions.c providing the implementation for the
libxslt:test element, it will output a comment in the result tree:</p><pre>/**
 * xsltExtElementTest:
 * @ctxt:  an XSLT processing context
 * @node:  The current node
 * @inst:  the instruction in the stylesheet
 * @comp:  precomputed information
 * Process a libxslt:test node
static void
xsltExtElementTest(xsltTransformContextPtr ctxt, xmlNodePtr node,
                   xmlNodePtr inst,
                   xsltStylePreCompPtr comp)
    xmlNodePtr comment;

    if (ctxt == NULL) {
                         "xsltExtElementTest: no transformation context\n");
    if (node == NULL) {
                         "xsltExtElementTest: no current node\n");
    if (inst == NULL) {
                         "xsltExtElementTest: no instruction\n");
    if (ctxt-&gt;insert == NULL) {
                         "xsltExtElementTest: no insertion point\n");
    comment =
        xmlNewComment((const xmlChar *)
                      "libxslt:test element test worked");
    xmlAddChild(ctxt-&gt;insert, comment);
}</pre><h3><a name="shutdown" id="shutdown">The shutdown of a module</a></h3><p>When the XSLT processor ends a transformation, the shutdown function (if
it exists) for each of the modules initialized is called.  The
xsltExtShutdownFunction type defines the interface for a shutdown
 * xsltExtShutdownFunction:
 * @ctxt:  an XSLT transformation context
 * @URI:  the namespace URI for the extension
 * @data:  the data associated to this module
 * A function called at shutdown time of an XSLT extension module
typedef void (*xsltExtShutdownFunction) (xsltTransformContextPtr ctxt,
                                         const xmlChar *URI,
                                         void *data);</pre><p>This is really similar to a module initialization function except a third
argument is passed, it's the value that was returned by the initialization
function. This allows the routine to deallocate resources from the module for
example close the connection to the database to keep the same example.</p><h3><a name="Future" id="Future">Future work</a></h3><p>Well, some of the pieces missing:</p><ul><li>a way to load shared libraries to instantiate new modules</li>
  <li>a better detection of extension functions usage and their registration
    without having to use the extension prefix which ought to be reserved to
    element extensions.</li>
  <li>more examples</li>
  <li>implementations of the <a href="http://www.exslt.org/">EXSLT</a> common
    extension libraries, Thomas Broyer nearly finished implementing them.</li>
</ul><p></p><p><a href="bugs.html">Daniel Veillard</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr></table></td></tr></table></td></tr></table></td></tr></table></body></html>