[xsl] XSLT and Unicode character functions --XSLT v 1.1?--

Subject: [xsl] XSLT and Unicode character functions --XSLT v 1.1?--
From: Eric Vermetten <EVermetten@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2001 15:35:41 -0000
Hello all,

XML/XSLT works with Unicode, and while you can equate any given
character with one other special one like this:

<xsl:variable name="test-char" select="&#8364;" >

	<xsl:if test="substring(., 1 ) = $test-char" >
		<!-- do something usefull here -->

It is not possible do  a range of tests based on 
unicode numbers.  Also, it is not possible to do simple 
comparisons of characters based on their Unicode number, like:

<xsl:if test="'a' &lt; 'b'" >

The above test, of course, does not do character comparison
in XSLT because the string
arguments 'a' and 'b' are convered, by an implicit call of 
the number() function, to NaN.

What does work is the use extension functions like the two below:

<msxsl:script implements-prefix="local" language="JScript">

		function UNInumber(xmlchar)
		  var s = new String(xmlchar);
		  return s.charCodeAt(0);

		function num2char(num)
		  var s = String.fromCharCode(num)
		  return s;

Now you can say:

<xsl:if test="local:UNInumber('a') &lt; local:UNInumber('b') >

These functions are very minimalistic and have functional equivalent 
counterparts in many languages such as Visual Basic, C++ and Java. 


My question is simple: 
XML/XSLT is, internally (and externally through different 
encodings), based on Unicode character handling.
Then wouldn't it be logical and desirable that the two functions 
given here be part of the standard XSLT function reportoire?
(e.g. XSLT v1.1)?

Adding these two functions would enhance portability and, 
so I would presume, implementation can be done in a jiffy.

I've been reading the XSL-digest list for quite some time now 
and that is why I'm asking you, XSLT/XML users, developers alike,
for your thoughts on this.

Eric Vermetten

P.S. For anyone outside the 12 designated countries, choose as
test-char &#xA3; &#xA5; &#x24; or any other appropiate alternative!

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