Re: [xsl] Recursive function referencing an XML file, best programming technique

Subject: Re: [xsl] Recursive function referencing an XML file, best programming technique
From: Richard Fozzard <Richard.Fozzard@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 08 Jun 2010 13:28:39 -0600
Theoretically, it's better to read the library.xml file once, into a (global, probably) variable, e.g.:

<xsl:variable name="nameLibrary" select="doc('library.xml')/>

This variable is now a node-set, i.e. the entire XML document, and can be referenced with XPath just as with your main input document. (By the way, your stylesheet will be more portable if you just use a shorter, relative document URL, as above, than a full "file://..." path.)

Then inside your loop or template, use the variable to avoid doing file i/o each time:

   <xsl:template match="...">
      <xsl:if test="$nameLibrary/names/name...">

However in practice, unless your library is huge and/or you are doing lots of recursion and looping, you may not notice much of performance difference between defining the variable, and making the doc() call over and over.

My intuition says you'll not see any significant performance problem on 400 files -- but why not write it the more efficient way? It's more elegant and maintainable (what if you later decide to change the library file location? or put in on a web server far away? or discover you need to parse 400,000 files, not 400?)

Good luck!

Richard Fozzard, Computer Scientist
 Geospatial Metadata at NGDC:

Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)
Univ. Colorado & NOAA National Geophysical Data Center, Enterprise Data Systems 325 S. Broadway, Skaggs 1B-305, Boulder, CO 80305
Office: 303-497-6487, Cell: 303-579-5615, Email: richard.fozzard@xxxxxxxx

Mario Madunic said the following on 06/08/2010 12:57 PM:
This is more of a programming technique question than a how to.

I'll be creating a recursive function in XSLT that will manipulate a tokenized string (on spaces), capitalize initial letter in each word and lower case the rest of the word. An issue arises for product names and acronyms, as the way they are spelt is quite specific. So I'll create a library XML file that will contain the correct spelling for these strings and do a check on each string.

So my question is,

What is the best method to call the library XML file? As a parameter into the function (placing the content of the library into a variable that is placed into the function), a straight <value-of select="doc('file:///pathto/library.xml')..." /> each time the function is called, or does it really matter as it might make no difference or discernable difference? (I'll be parsing 400+ files all less than 30k.)

Just trying to find the best method someone with a programming background and education (read post secondary education in computer science) would use.

Marijan (Mario) Madunic
Publishing Specialist
New Flyer Industries

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