The SXalan package

This package is an extension to the Xalan-C XSL translator which provides access to functionality written in the S language (and specifically R) during the processing of XML and XSL documents. This allows one to use S functions to create content dynamically at the time the document is being created.

In the near future, we may use the same extension approach to embed R in the Gnome XSL translator

The advantage of this approach is that it allows one to separate the formatting from the generation of output from statistical software but to have them integrated at the time one creates the document. This allows one to avoid running the statistical software in one window and cutting and pasting the results into a document, or having the statistical software write output to files that are latter included into a larger document.

Possible uses for this package include

Report generation
The XML input acts as a template whose place-holders are expanded when the XSL processing is done using data that is available at that time. Documents such as nightly reports can then be produced with a format specified in the XML file, but with data integrated dynamically.
Reproducible reports (research, simulation, etc.)
The report can be created as self-contained, single object from which we can generate all the contents. This avoids synchronizing figures, tables and results in the document with other files which may be based on different data, etc.

Additionally, these reports can be re-processed with different inputs to generate similarly styled documents, but with different results. This allows what-if analyses to be done relatively easily and consistently with the original document.



The Xalan translator was created and released by the Apache Software Foundation. (Obviously, they have no responsibility for this extension, but we are very grateful for their well-designed code.)

In other words: This product includes software developed by the Apache Software Foundation (


The current version is available as a GNU-zipped tar file SXalan_0.2-0.tar.gz

See the README and INSTALL files for instructions on using and installing the package.

  • S in XSLT
    Some notes and documentation.
  • The FAQ
    Some questions and answers to problems and issues we have found.
  • Features
    A list of some of the features of the package.
  • Examples

    There are currently just a (very) few examples

    Related Packages

    An S package for reading and writing S objects formatted using XML.
    A plugin for Netscape that allows JavaScript code to call S functions and access S objects as well as allowing S to call JavaScript and communicate with other LiveConnect plugins.
    An package for reading and writing XML within S.

    Duncan Temple Lang <>
    Last modified: Sun Apr 22 16:36:59 EDT 2001