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Manual Reference Pages  -  XML::LIBXSLT (3)

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XML::LibXSLT - Interface to the GNOME libxslt library



  use XML::LibXSLT;
  use XML::LibXML;

  my $xslt = XML::LibXSLT->new();

  my $source = XML::LibXML->load_xml(location => foo.xml);
  my $style_doc = XML::LibXML->load_xml(location=>bar.xsl, no_cdata=>1);

  my $stylesheet = $xslt->parse_stylesheet($style_doc);

  my $results = $stylesheet->transform($source);

  print $stylesheet->output_as_bytes($results);


This module is an interface to the GNOME project’s libxslt. This is an extremely good XSLT engine, highly compliant and also very fast. I have tests showing this to be more than twice as fast as Sablotron.


XML::LibXSLT has some global options. Note that these are probably not thread or even fork safe - so only set them once per process. Each one of these options can be called either as class methods, or as instance methods. However either way you call them, it still sets global options.

Each of the option methods returns its previous value, and can be called without a parameter to retrieve the current value.


This option sets the maximum recursion depth for a stylesheet. See the very end of section 5.4 of the XSLT specification for more details on recursion and detecting it. If your stylesheet or XML file requires seriously deep recursion, this is the way to set it. Default value is 250.



This option sets the maximum number of variables for a stylesheet. If your stylesheet or XML file requires many variables, this is the way to increase their limit. Default value is system-specific and may vary.



Sets a callback to be used for debug messages. If you don’t set this, debug messages will be ignored.


  XML::LibXSLT->register_function($uri, $name, $subref);
  $stylesheet->register_function($uri, $name, $subref);

Registers an XSLT extension function mapped to the given URI. For example:

  XML::LibXSLT->register_function("urn:foo", "bar",
    sub { scalar localtime });

Will register a bar function in the urn:foo namespace (which you have to define in your XSLT using xmlns:...) that will return the current date and time as a string:

  <xsl:stylesheet version="1.0"
  <xsl:template match="/">
    The time is: <xsl:value-of select="foo:bar()"/>

Parameters can be in whatever format you like. If you pass in a nodelist it will be a XML::LibXML::NodeList object in your perl code, but ordinary values (strings, numbers and booleans) will be ordinary perl scalars. If you wish them to be XML::LibXML::Literal, XML::LibXML::Number and XML::LibXML::Number values respectively then set the variable $XML::LibXSLT::USE_LIBXML_DATA_TYPES to a true value. Return values can be a nodelist or a plain value - the code will just do the right thing. But only a single return value is supported (a list is not converted to a nodelist).


        $stylesheet->register_element($uri, $name, $subref)

Registers an XSLT extension element $name mapped to the given URI. For example:

  $stylesheet->register_element("urn:foo", "hello", sub {
          my $name = $_[2]->getAttribute( "name" );
          return XML::LibXML::Text->new( "Hello, $name!" );

Will register a hello element in the urn:foo namespace that returns a Hello, X! text node. You must define this namespace in your XSLT and include its prefix in the extension-element-prefixes list:

  <xsl:stylesheet version="1.0"
  <xsl:template match="/">
    <foo:hello name="bob"/>

The callback is passed the input document node as $_[1] and the stylesheet node as $_[2]. $_[0] is reserved for future use.


The following methods are available on the new XML::LibXSLT object:
parse_stylesheet($stylesheet_doc) $stylesheet_doc here is an XML::LibXML::Document object (see XML::LibXML) representing an XSLT file. This method will return a XML::LibXSLT::Stylesheet object, or undef on failure. If the XSLT is invalid, an exception will be thrown, so wrap the call to parse_stylesheet in an eval{} block to trap this.

IMPORTANT: $stylesheet_doc should not contain CDATA sections, otherwise libxslt may misbehave. The best way to assure this is to load the stylesheet with no_cdata flag, e.g.

  my $stylesheet_doc = XML::LibXML->load_xml(location=>"some.xsl", no_cdata=>1);

parse_stylesheet_file($filename) Exactly the same as the above, but parses the given filename directly.

Input Callbacks

To define XML::LibXSLT or XML::LibXSLT::Stylesheet specific input callbacks, reuse the XML::LibXML input callback API as described in XML::LibXML::InputCallback(3).
input_callbacks($icb) Enable the callbacks in $icb only for this XML::LibXSLT object. $icb should be a XML::LibXML::InputCallback object. This will call init_callbacks and cleanup_callbacks automatically during parsing or transformation.

Security Callbacks

To create security preferences for the transformation see XML::LibXSLT::Security. Once the security preferences have been defined you can apply them to an XML::LibXSLT or XML::LibXSLT::Stylesheet instance using the security_callbacks() method.


The main API is on the stylesheet, though it is fairly minimal.

One of the main advantages of XML::LibXSLT is that you have a generic stylesheet object which you call the transform() method passing in a document to transform. This allows you to have multiple transformations happen with one stylesheet without requiring a reparse.
transform(doc, %params)

  my $results = $stylesheet->transform($doc, foo => "bar");
  print $stylesheet->output_as_bytes($results);

Transforms the passed in XML::LibXML::Document object, and returns a new XML::LibXML::Document. Extra hash entries are used as parameters. Be sure to keep in mind the caveat with regard to quotes explained in the section on Parameters below.

transform_file(filename, %params)

  my $results = $stylesheet->transform_file($filename, bar => "baz");

Note the string parameter caveat, detailed in the section on Parameters below.

output_as_bytes(result) Returns a scalar that is the XSLT rendering of the XML::LibXML::Document object using the desired output format (specified in the xsl:output tag in the stylesheet). Note that you can also call $result->toString, but that will *always* output the document in XML format which may not be what you asked for in the xsl:output tag. The scalar is a byte string encoded in the output encoding specified in the stylesheet.
output_as_chars(result) Like output_as_bytes(result), but always return the output as (UTF-8 encoded) string of characters.
output_string(result) DEPRECATED: This method is something between output_as_bytes(result) and output_as_bytes(result): The scalar returned by this function appears to Perl as characters (UTF8 flag is on) if the output encoding specified in the XSLT stylesheet was UTF-8 and as bytes if no output encoding was specified or if the output encoding was other than UTF-8. Since the behavior of this function depends on the particular stylesheet, it is deprecated in favor of output_as_bytes(result) and output_as_chars(result).
output_fh(result, fh) Outputs the result to the filehandle given in $fh.
output_file(result, filename) Outputs the result to the file named in $filename.
output_encoding() Returns the output encoding of the results. Defaults to UTF-8.
output_method() Returns the value of the method attribute from xsl:output (usually xml, html or text). If this attribute is unspecified, the default value is initially xml. If the transform method is used to produce an HTML document, as per the XSLT spec <>, the default value will change to html. To override this behavior completely, supply an xsl:output element in the stylesheet source document.
media_type() Returns the value of the media-type attribute from xsl:output. If this attribute is unspecified, the default media type is initially text/xml. This default changes to text/html under the same conditions as output_method.
input_callbacks($icb) Enable the callbacks in $icb only for this stylesheet. $icb should be a XML::LibXML::InputCallback object. This will call init_callbacks and cleanup_callbacks automatically during transformation.


LibXSLT expects parameters in XPath format. That is, if you wish to pass a string to the XSLT engine, you actually have to pass it as a quoted string:

  $stylesheet->transform($doc, param => "string");

Note the quotes within quotes there!

Obviously this isn’t much fun, so you can make it easy on yourself:

  $stylesheet->transform($doc, XML::LibXSLT::xpath_to_string(
        param => "string"

The utility function does the right thing with respect to strings in XPath, including when you have quotes already embedded within your string.


Provides an interface to the libxslt security framework by allowing callbacks to be defined that can restrict access to various resources (files or URLs) during a transformation.

The libxslt security framework allows callbacks to be defined for certain actions that a stylesheet may attempt during a transformation. It may be desirable to restrict some of these actions (for example, writing a new file using exsl:document). The actions that may be restricted are:
read_file Called when the stylesheet attempts to open a local file (ie: when using the document() function).
write_file Called when an attempt is made to write a local file (ie: when using the exsl:document element).
create_dir Called when a directory needs to be created in order to write a file.

NOTE: By default, create_dir is not allowed. To enable it a callback must be registered.

read_net Called when the stylesheet attempts to read from the network.
write_net Called when the stylesheet attempts to write to the network.

    Using XML::LibXSLT::Security

The interface for this module is similar to XML::LibXML::InputCallback. After creating a new instance you may register callbacks for each of the security options listed above. Then you apply the security preferences to the XML::LibXSLT or XML::LibXSLT::Stylesheet object using security_callbacks().

  my $security = XML::LibXSLT::Security->new();
  $security->register_callback( read_file  => $read_cb );
  $security->register_callback( write_file => $write_cb );
  $security->register_callback( create_dir => $create_cb );
  $security->register_callback( read_net   => $read_net_cb );
  $security->register_callback( write_net  => $write_net_cb );

  $xslt->security_callbacks( $security );
  $stylesheet->security_callbacks( $security );

The registered callback functions are called when access to a resource is requested. If the access should be allowed the callback should return 1, if not it should return 0. The callback functions should accept the following arguments:
$tctxt This is the transform context (XML::LibXSLT::TransformContext). You can use this to get the current XML::LibXSLT::Stylesheet object by calling stylesheet().

  my $stylesheet = $tctxt->stylesheet();

The stylesheet object can then be used to share contextual information between different calls to the security callbacks.

$value This is the name of the resource (file or URI) that has been requested.
If a particular option (except for create_dir) doesn’t have a registered callback, then the stylesheet will have full access for that action.


new() Creates a new XML::LibXSLT::Security object.
register_callback( $option, $callback ) Registers a callback function for the given security option (listed above).
unregister_callback( $option ) Removes the callback for the given option. This has the effect of allowing all access for the given option (except for create_dir).


Included in the distribution is a simple benchmark script, which has two drivers - one for LibXSLT and one for Sablotron. The benchmark requires the testcases files from the XSLTMark distribution which you can find at

Put the testcases directory in the directory created by this distribution, and then run:

  perl -h

to get a list of options.

The benchmark requires XML::XPath at the moment, but I hope to factor that out of the equation fairly soon. It also requires Time::HiRes, which I could be persuaded to factor out, replacing it with, but I haven’t done so yet.

I would love to get drivers for XML::XSLT and XML::Transformiix, if you would like to contribute them. Also if you get this running on Win32, I’d love to get a driver for MSXSLT via OLE, to see what we can do against those Redmond boys!


For debugging purposes, XML::LibXSLT provides version information about the libxslt C library (but do not confuse it with the version number of XML::LibXSLT module itself, i.e. with $XML::LibXSLT::VERSION). XML::LibXSLT issues a warning if the runtime version of the library is less then the compile-time version.
XML::LibXSLT::LIBXSLT_VERSION() Returns version number of libxslt library which was used to compile XML::LibXSLT as an integer. For example, for libxslt-1.1.18, it will return 10118.
XML::LibXSLT::LIBXSLT_DOTTED_VERSION() Returns version number of libxslt library which was used to compile XML::LibXSLT as a string, e.g. 1.1.18.
XML::LibXSLT::LIBXSLT_RUNTIME_VERSION() Returns version number of libxslt library to which XML::LibXSLT is linked at runtime (either dynamically or statically). For example, for example, for, it will return 10118.
XML::LibXSLT::HAVE_EXLT() Returns 1 if the module was compiled with libexslt, 0 otherwise.


This is free software, you may use it and distribute it under the same terms as Perl itself.

Copyright 2001-2009, Ltd.


Matt Sergeant,

Security callbacks implementation contributed by Shane Corgatelli.


Petr Pajas ,


Please report bugs via


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