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PHP : Function Reference : XSL functions

XSL functions


The XSL extension implements the XSL standard, performing » XSLT transformations using the » libxslt library


This extension uses libxslt which can be found at » libxslt version 1.1.0 or greater is required.


PHP 5 includes the XSL extension by default and can be enabled by adding the argument --with-xsl[=DIR] to your configure line. DIR is the libxslt installation directory.

Predefined Classes





Many examples in this reference require both an XML and an XSL file. We will use collection.xml and collection.xsl that contains the following:

Example 2648. collection.xml

 <title>Fight for your mind</title>
 <artist>Ben Harper</artist>
 <title>Electric Ladyland</title>
 <artist>Jimi Hendrix</artist>

Example 2649. collection.xsl

<xsl:stylesheet version="1.0" xmlns:xsl="">
<xsl:param name="owner" select="'Nicolas Eliaszewicz'"/>
<xsl:output method="html" encoding="iso-8859-1" indent="no"/>
<xsl:template match="collection">
 Hey! Welcome to <xsl:value-of select="$owner"/>'s sweet CD collection!
<xsl:template match="cd">
 <h1><xsl:value-of select="title"/></h1>
 <h2>by <xsl:value-of select="artist"/> - <xsl:value-of select="year"/></h2>
 <hr />

Predefined Constants

The constants below are defined by this extension, and will only be available when the extension has either been compiled into PHP or dynamically loaded at runtime.

XSL_CLONE_AUTO (integer)
libxslt version like 10117. Available as of PHP 5.1.2.
libxslt version like 1.1.17. Available as of PHP 5.1.2.
libexslt version like 813. Available as of PHP 5.1.2.
libexslt version like 1.1.17. Available as of PHP 5.1.2.

Table of Contents

XSLTProcessor::__construct — Creates a new XSLTProcessor object
XSLTProcessor::getParameter — Get value of a parameter
XSLTProcessor::hasExsltSupport — Determine if PHP has EXSLT support
XSLTProcessor::importStylesheet — Import stylesheet
XSLTProcessor::registerPHPFunctions — Enables the ability to use PHP functions as XSLT functions
XSLTProcessor::removeParameter — Remove parameter
XSLTProcessor::setParameter — Set value for a parameter
XSLTProcessor::transformToDoc — Transform to a DOMDocument
XSLTProcessor::transformToURI — Transform to URI
XSLTProcessor::transformToXML — Transform to XML

Code Examples / Notes » ref.xsl


You can set an HTTP proxy for the XSLT document() function to use (as well as DTD external references) by setting http_proxy in the environment.
E.g., in Apache configuration;
SetEnv http_proxy


Wow, I spent the better part of a day looking for how one could pass an entire test expression to an XSL stylesheet.  It seems that the XSLT 1.0 specification doesn't support it but PHP 5 (and maybe 4s) inclusion of  EXSLT allows one to do exactly that...
simply add these lines...
to the <xsl:stylesheet> element and when using an expression stored in a <xsl:param> element write
<xsl:if test="dyn:evaluate($param-name)">
and viola!  you can now use expressions generated externally in your stylesheet!
EXSLT adds many useful functions that can be integrated into your XSL in a similar fashion.  You can go to to learn more...


The following code is a wrapper to support calls to some of the old xslt_* functions:
if (PHP_VERSION >= 5) {
// Emulate the old xslt library functions
function xslt_create() {
return new XsltProcessor();
function xslt_process($xsltproc,
                         $xslcontainer = null,
                         $args = null,
                         $params = null) {
// Start with preparing the arguments
$xml_arg = str_replace('arg:', '', $xml_arg);
$xsl_arg = str_replace('arg:', '', $xsl_arg);
// Create instances of the DomDocument class
$xml = new DomDocument;
$xsl = new DomDocument;
// Load the xml document and the xsl template
// Load the xsl template
// Set parameters when defined
if ($params) {
foreach ($params as $param => $value) {
$xsltproc->setParameter("", $param, $value);
// Start the transformation
$processed = $xsltproc->transformToXML($xml);
// Put the result in a file when specified
if ($xslcontainer) {
return @file_put_contents($xslcontainer, $processed);
} else {
return $processed;
function xslt_free($xsltproc) {
$arguments = array(
'/_xml' => file_get_contents("newxslt.xml"),
'/_xsl' => file_get_contents("newxslt.xslt")
$xsltproc = xslt_create();
$html = xslt_process(
print $html;

ryan d. hatch

Looking for php_xsl.dll?
If you installed on Windows using the MSI Installer - you may not have it.
1.) Add/Remove Programs and Change PHP Installation.  Select XSL Extension.
2.) Download complete .zip file of PHP and you can copy php_xsl.dll into your PHP/etc directory.
Just a note.
Ryan D. Hatch

fabrice bonny

In response to how to use entities from DTD (internal or external) in XSLT. It works if you do this way:
$xsl = new DOMDocument;
$xsl->resolveExternals = TRUE;
$xsl->substituteEntities = TRUE;
Hope this helps! ;-)

17-mar-2006 05:14

In response to appletalk at gmail dot com
As many of you may have noticed, DOM parser gives errors if the '&nbsp;' entity is present. The E_WARN message looks like:
Warning: DOMDocument::load() [function.load]: Entity 'nbsp' not defined in ...
There're many ways to solve this:
b) Defining &nbsp;
At the top of the document, after the <?xml?> definition, add:
  <!DOCTYPE xsl:stylesheet [
  <!ENTITY nbsp "&#160;" >
Just wanted to let people know that option b does NOT work. I'm not sure why this isn't implemented correctly, but it isn't, so don't waste your time. It's unfortunate the DOMXSL transform is so much less capable than the old xslt function.


If you're want to use XML from a variable e.g. $xmldata but the XSLT-StyleSheet from a file, you can do it also the following way:
$xslt = new xsltProcessor;
print $xslt->transformToXML(DomDocument::loadXML($xmldata));


If you want to use the document()-function inside your XSL stylesheet, please note that you have to use an absolute path there.
Important for windows users: the absolute path *has* to be with forward slashes, so subsitute windows-path-backslashes to forward slashes before you transform the document.
This will NOT work:
<xsl:copy-of select="document('test.xml')" />
This will also NOT work:
<xsl:copy-of select="document('c:\temp\test.xml')" />
But this WILL work:
<xsl:copy-of select="document('c:/temp/test.xml')" />

olivier dot sow

if you have 'XML parser error 4: not well-formed (invalid token)' error without but your are sure to do no error at all, try this:

$Str = '';
$xp = xslt_create() or trigger_error('Could not create XSLT process.', E_USER_ERROR);
xslt_set_encoding($xp, 'ISO-8859-1');
// read the files into memory
$xsl_string = join('', file($XSLFile));
$xml_string = join('', file($XMLFile));
// set the argument buffer
$arg_buffer = array('/xml' => $xml_string, '/xsl' => $xsl_string);
// process the two files to get the desired output
if (($Str = xslt_process($xp, 'arg:/xml', 'arg:/xsl', NULL, $arg_buffer, $xsl_params))){
//Saves transformation result into '$ResultFile'
$fp = fopen($ResultFile,"w+");

return true;

return false;
found here:


If you get the following warning message:
xsltApplyOneTemplate: _if_ was not compiled in (if can for example be apply-template or some other method), i've found that the problem seems to be an &nbsp; directly before the <xsl:if> or what ever is causing the problem.
One way to get thru the problem is to use span tags around &nbsp;  like : <span>&nbsp;</span>


Here is function to read from the XSL sheet which is saved as a text file.
function ReadExcelSheet($filename){
            for ($i=0; $i<count($ar); $i++) {
                      if((substr($ar[$i],0,1)!= "\t")){

geoffreyj dot lee

Here are a couple useful tips for those who care about cross-browser compatibility.
<script type="text/javascript" src="test.js"></script>
XSLT will automatically condense it to:
<script type="text/javascript" src="test.js"/>
While this is good, Internet Explorer breaks on empty script tags. So, the simple solution is to add something to prevent an empty tag. For example:
<script type="text/javascript" src="test.js"><xsl:comment/></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="test.js">
Also, here is a way to use IE's conditional comments:
<xsl:comment>[if gte IE 5]&#62;
&#60;link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="ie.css" /&#62;
<!--[if gte IE 5]>
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="ie.css" />
This will let you isolate IE-related CSS without needing to use ugly CSS hacks.

28-apr-2006 02:26

Enable libxslt library, PHP 5, under windows:
To Enable:
In your php.ini
1. Uncomment ;extension=php_xsl.dll
2. Change extension_dir to
    extension_dir = "./ext"
To Confirm:
1. In a test.php page:
<?php phpinfo() ?>
2. Run test.php
3. Search for "libxslt Version". It should return a version number in a XSL headed table.
Further info Google
"Configuring and Testing PHP Servers for XSL Support"

gabriel dot birke

Each <xsl:message> tag will generate a PHP error (level Warning). If you want to collect and pretty-print them, you could use a custom error handling function that collects the warnings in a static variable.


Calling the Saxon XSLT Processor is a very esay task to do!
You just need to do some simple task
1. Install the JavaBridge for PHP
2. Download the freeware (B) Saxon distribution from
3. Put the jar files in a directory whre you have access
4. Use this sample of code
// Directory where the jar files are located
define("SAXON_DIR", $_SERVER['DOCUMENT_ROOT']."/saxonb8.9.0/");
// include the jars

$sXslFile = $_SERVER['DOCUMENT_ROOT']."/myfirst.xsl"; // The xsl file
$sXmlFile = $_SERVER['DOCUMENT_ROOT']."/myfirst.xml"; // The xml file
 $oXslSource = new java("", "file://".$sXslFile);
 $oXmlSource = new java("", "file://".$sXmlFile);
 $oFeatureKeys = new JavaClass("net.sf.saxon.FeatureKeys");
 // Create the Factory
 $oTransformerFactory = new java("net.sf.saxon.TransformerFactoryImpl");
 //Disable source document validation
 $oTransformerFactory->setAttribute($oFeatureKeys->SCHEMA_VALIDATION, 4);
 // Create a new Transformer
 $oTransFormer = $oTransformerFactory->newTransformer($oXslSource);
 // Create a StreamResult to store the output
 $oResultStringWriter = new java("");
 $oResultStream = new java("", $oResultStringWriter);
 // Transform
 $oTransFormer->transform($oXmlSource, $oResultStream);
 // Echo the output from the transformation
 echo java_cast($oResultStringWriter->toString(), "string");
catch(JavaException $e){
  echo java_cast($e->getCause()->toString(), "string");
5. Enjoy
This is working quite well.


As many of you may have noticed, DOM parser gives errors if the '&nbsp;' entity is present. The E_WARN message looks like:
Warning: DOMDocument::load() [function.load]: Entity 'nbsp' not defined in ...
There're many ways to solve this:
a) The hard way
<xsl:text disable-output-escaping="yes"> &amp;nbsp;</xsl:text>
b) Defining &nbsp;
At the top of the document, after the <?xml?> definition, add:
  <!DOCTYPE xsl:stylesheet [
   <!ENTITY nbsp "&#160;" >
c) External Doctype
Just in case you want need other HTML entities, you can call an external doctype with the proper definitions
Of course, you can download the file and place it in your server.


As far as I can tell, the most recent stable versions of LibXML/LibXSLT/LibEXSLT do NOT support xPath 2.0 / XSLT 2.0 transformations. The only support for XSLT 2.0 that I've found is in Java's SAXON processor (

vasil rangelov

@basslines at gmail dot com
As far as I can tell, the most recent stable versions of LibXML/LibXSLT/LibEXSLT do NOT support xPath 2.0 / XSLT 2.0 transformations. The only support for XSLT 2.0 that I've found is in Java's SAXON processor (
Using SAXON or AltovaXML by using their JAVA bindings could prove to be a difficult task to do, and .NET seems to be buggy (at least for me). However, I've made a class that uses SAXON or AltovaXML from the command line. AltovaXML could also be used with COM, provided it's registered as a COM component.
You can download my wrapper from:
I still need to implement a more graceful error handling (the way the XSL extension uses the Libxml functions), and once the bug
is fixed, I'll implement the .NET interfaces too.
I'll appreciate any feedback.

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