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XSL(T) is short for Extendable Stylesheet Language (Transformation). Even though it is a "stylesheet," it has a different goal than CSS (Cascading Stylesheets). XSL(T) is not used for visual effect, but instead extracting data (or transforming) from XML and using the combination of HTML and CSS to format them. XSL(T) also has the dynamic properties in the sense that you can do iteration and conditional statements upon a static XML file.

Why use XSL(T)?

XSL(T) can be used for organizing large trees of XML so that anyone can read it. For instance a Google Search Appliance serves up queries as XML. For that XML to be read by a general user some transformation has to occur. This is where XSL(T) plays a vital role. It could also be used to style an RSS feed page since the source is all in XML. It is also used as the main templating language for Autonomy's Teamsite (EMS) and such open source CMSs as Symphony.

XSL(T) also cuts down on server load. Since XSLT can do the transformation on the client side, your server has to do less work, since you are not querying upon data in database. JavaScript and server-side functions can be setup to tell the document to use a specific XSL(T) template or you can source the template within the actual XML file. For this tutorial, we are simply going to source the XSL(T) template in the XML file.



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