pixelation: custom XSLT functions with Python and lxml

I'll be brief.

Because the Python "lxml" module doesn't support XSLT 2.0 functions, I was looking at support for EXSLT

… but then stumbled on how to write my own functions and call them from stylesheets.

Freakin' cool.

I like calling it "pxslt" for "Python XSLT" and pronouncing it like "pixelate".


Example below of the "module" I made;  the script that calls it, and the results.

Told you I'd be brief.



def underscore(context, word):
  '''Replace whitespace with underscore.'''
  out = word[0].replace(' ', '_')
  return out

def multiply(context, int_val, int2_val):
  '''Multiply two integers.'''
  int_val, int2_val = int(int_val[0]), int(int2_val[0])
  return int_val * int2_val

def libraryThing(context, isbn):
  '''Get language for a work based on ISBN using LibraryThing API.'''
  isbn = isbn[0]
  import urllib
  res = urllib.urlopen('http://www.librarything.com/api/thingLang.php?isbn=' + isbn)
  res_r = res.read()
  return res_r

##### makes it possible to call the above functions with XSLT
def pxslt():
  myFunctions = []
  gbs = globals()
  from inspect import isfunction
  for gb in gbs:
    if isfunction(gbs[gb]) and gb != 'pxslt':
      #print gb

  from lxml import etree
  #see: http://lxml.de/extensions.html
  ns = etree.FunctionNamespace('file://libs/pxslt.py')
  ns.prefix = 'pxsl'
  for myFunction in myFunctions:
    name = str(myFunction.func_name)
    ns[name] = myFunction
  return ns

Usage example:

from lxml import etree

myXML = etree.XML('''\
  <b>Hello. This will appear with whitespaces replaced by underscores.</b>

myXSL = etree.XSLT(etree.XML('''\
<xsl:stylesheet version="1.0"
  <xsl:output method="text" version="1.0" />
  <xsl:template match="a">
    <xsl:variable name="isbn">9955081260</xsl:variable>
    <xsl:value-of select="pxslt:libraryThing($isbn)" />
    <xsl:text>\n</xsl:text> <!-- Python will line break here -->
    <xsl:value-of select="pxslt:underscore(b/text())" />
    <xsl:text>\n</xsl:text> <!-- Python will line break here -->
    <xsl:call-template name="mathFunc">
  <xsl:template name="mathFunc">
    <xsl:variable name="myNum">10</xsl:variable>
    <xsl:value-of select="pxslt:multiply(c/text(), $myNum)" />

import pxslt
pxslt.pxslt() #get all set up with namespaces and function stuff


#myXSL_file = etree.XSLT(etree.parse('foo.xsl')) #for testing with a real XSL file




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  1. Rick Quatro

    This is fascinating stuff. I love XSLT and XPath and am relatively new to Python. I have gotten spoiled by XSLT/XPath 2.0 and am disappointed that lxml only supports 1.0. But I like the fact that I can "augment" 1.0 by calling Python functions. I am looking forward to playing with this and seeing if I can make it work in my scripts. I hope XSLT/XPath 2.0 support gets added to lxml or some other Python library. I need to do some fancy grouping and I sure would like to use 2.0's grouping features.

    1. nitin (Post author)

      Hi Rick,

      I don't use XSLT that much anymore, but if 2.0 is really needed, there's always calling something like Saxon via Java/command line if that's acceptable for your workflow.


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