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[xsl] Merging two sets of files

Subject: [xsl] Merging two sets of files
From: Emma Burrows <Emma.Burrows@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2012 09:55:03 +0100

I'm currently using XSLT 2.0 (using Saxon 9.3 via Oxygen 12) to merge two sets
of XML files together based on a third file which is a kind of lookup table.
However, I'm coming across a problem when I need to effectively merge two
source files into the same output file, and I need some suggestions on a
change of approach.

I have the following XML files:

- Main document - let's call it book.xml
This contains various types of topics, including about 4000 topics related to
drugs, each identified by a unique id.

- Ancillary drug information files auto-generated from an online drug
These are about 10,000 little XML files, each named after the unique id of the
drug information in the online catalogue.

- An XML file - let's call it lookup.xml - that is essentially a look-up
table, matching ids in book.xml to one or more drug catalogue ids, and vice
versa. However, not all records in book.xml have an entry in lookup.xml.

Now my requirement is to convert book.xml from its current proprietary format
into a DITA-based specialisation, and while I'm doing that:

1- Output the records with no corresponding catalogue entry as standalone

2- Merge each drug record in book.xml that has catalogue entries with the
corresponding auto-generated catalogue file(s), based on lookup.xml.

3- If a record in book.xml has more than one catalogue id in lookup.xml, I
need to copy the book.xml record into every one of the corresponding
auto-generated files.

4- If more than one record in book.xml corresponds to one catalogue id in
lookup.xml, I need to merge all the book.xml records with that same catalogue

5- Make sure the converted and merged files are referenced in the correct
location in the book's hierarchy.

I expect we'll ultimately do something more sensible like use conref rather
than tamper with the auto-generated files, but merging them is my current
brief as it stands.

Point 4 is the immediate stumbling block because my solution to fulfilling
points 2 and 3 was as follows:

1. Convert the book.xml drug record into the desired DITA format and place
that in a variable.
I'm doing this based on a matched template, so this happens whenever the
processor "encounters" a drug record as it travels book.xml. This ensures that
I can export records with no catalogue id and keep track of where the record
was in the hierarchy.

2. Use the lookup.xml file to find corresponding catalogue ids for that

3. For each catalogue id, open the corresponding catalogue file using
document(), and result-document it to a new file with the contents of the
variable inserted in the XML.

The problem is that in step 3, I can't reopen a document that was previously
created by the transform, so I can't "add" a new book.xml record to the
contents of an already generated catalogue file, even by outputting a new file
with a different name.

I can see that I'll probably need a process with an intermediate step, perhaps
using lookup.xml to guide the processing so I can group records with the same
catalogue id. But the only trouble with that is what to do with records that
don't appear in lookup.xml...

Anyway, I hope all this is clear and I'm open to ideas. :)

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