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Re: [xsl] Random number generation : requirements

Subject: Re: [xsl] Random number generation : requirements
From: "Eliot Kimber ekimber@xxxxxxxxxxxx" <xsl-list-service@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 6 May 2014 17:22:20 -0000

I recently used the EXSLT random number extension in Saxon to generate
random numbers within a range from 0 to say 20,000 in order to randomly
select items from a document (in my case, words from the standard Linux
words spellcheck dictionary, made into a simple XML document for ease of
XSLT access).

This was the relevant code I used:

<xsl:variable name="words" as="document-node()"
  <xsl:variable name="wordCount" as="xs:integer"

<xsl:variable name="seed"
select="(seconds-from-dateTime(current-dateTime()) + .) * 1000"

<xsl:variable name="wordIndex" as="xs:integer"
        select="if ($doRandom)
        then xs:integer(exslt-random:random-sequence(1, $seed) *
        else ."

The seed construction is a little weak but sufficient for my needs since I
wouldn't be running the process twice within the same second.

Of course, being able to get a truly random seed would be nice but
pseudo-random is usually good enough.



Eliot Kimber, Owner
Contrext, LLC

On 5/6/14, 11:54 AM, "Michael Kay mike@xxxxxxxxxxxx"
<xsl-list-service@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

>The W3C WGs are looking at the idea of introducing a random-number
>function of some kind in XPath 3.1. The challenge of course is making
>this both usable and a pure function with no side-effects. We have
>various design ideas which we need to test against requirements.
>If you have any applications that use or need such a function, please
>could I have a brief description of the way it uses random numbers, e.g.
>just wanting a single random number, a random permutation of 52 integers,
>an arbitrary sequence of random numebrs for test data generation, etc.
>If you're currently using the EXSLT random-sequence() function, please
>share your experience with it.
>Michael Kay

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