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To demonstrate creating a custom operation, consider that we have a task where we need to convert an attribute into an element and insert it inside another element. A specific example would be if you have a project with a variety of image elements where a deprecated alt attribute was used for the description and you want to convert all instances of that attribute into an element with the same name and insert it as the first child of the image element.

Thus, our task is to convert this attribute into an element with the same name and insert it as the first child of the image element.

Figure: Example: Custom XML Refactoring Operation

We can use an XSLT stylesheet to implement the new custom XML refactoring operation. The second requirement is an XML Refactoring operation descriptor file that contains the path to the XSLT stylesheet.

Example of an XSLT Script for Creating a Custom Operation to Convert an Attribute to an Element

The XSLT stylesheet does the following:
  • Iterates over all elements from the document that have the specified local name and namespace.
  • Finds the attribute that will be converted to an element.
  • Adds the new element as the first child of the parent element.
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <xsl:stylesheet xmlns:xsl="http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform"
      xmlns:xs="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema"
      exclude-result-prefixes="xs"
      xmlns:xr="http://www.oxygenxml.com/ns/xmlRefactoring"
      version="2.0">
        
      <xsl:import 
    href="http://www.oxygenxml.com/ns/xmlRefactoring/resources/commons.xsl"/>
        
      <xsl:param name="element_localName" as="xs:string" required="yes"/>
      <xsl:param name="element_namespace" as="xs:string" required="yes"/>
      <xsl:param name="attribute_localName" as="xs:string" required="yes"/>
      <xsl:param name="attribute_namespace" as="xs:string" required="yes"/>
      <xsl:param name="new_element_localName" as="xs:string" required="yes"/>
      <xsl:param name="new_element_namespace" as="xs:string" required="yes"/>
        
      <xsl:template match="node() | @*">
          <xsl:copy>
              <xsl:apply-templates select="node() | @*"/>
          </xsl:copy>
      </xsl:template>
      <xsl:template match="//*[xr:check-local-name($element_localName, ., true())
         and
            xr:check-namespace-uri($element_namespace, .)]">
            
          <xsl:variable name="attributeToConvert" 
             select="@*[xr:check-local-name($attribute_localName, ., true())
         and
            xr:check-namespace-uri($attribute_namespace, .)]"/>
            
          <xsl:choose>
              <xsl:when test="empty($attributeToConvert)">
                  <xsl:copy>
                      <xsl:apply-templates select="node() | @*"/>
                  </xsl:copy>
              </xsl:when>
          <xsl:otherwise>
              <xsl:copy>
                  <xsl:for-each select="@*[empty(. intersect $attributeToConvert)]">
                       <xsl:copy-of select="."/>                        
                  </xsl:for-each>
                    <!-- The new element namespace -->
                    <xsl:variable name="nsURI" as="xs:string">
                        <xsl:choose>
               <xsl:when test="$new_element_namespace eq $xr:NO-NAMESPACE">
                               <xsl:value-of select="''"/>
                            </xsl:when>
                            <xsl:otherwise>
                                <xsl:value-of select="$new_element_namespace"/>
                            </xsl:otherwise>
                        </xsl:choose>
                     </xsl:variable>
              <xsl:element name="{$new_element_localName}" namespace="{$nsURI}">
                        <xsl:value-of select="$attributeToConvert"/>
                     </xsl:element>
                  <xsl:apply-templates select="node()"/>
             </xsl:copy>
           </xsl:otherwise>
         </xsl:choose>
      </xsl:template>
    </xsl:stylesheet>
Note: The XSLT stylesheet imports a module library that contains utility functions and variables. The location of this module is resolved via an XML Catalog set in the XML Refactoring framework.

Example of an Operation Descriptor File That References the XSLT Stylesheet for Creating a Custom Operation to Convert an Attribute to an Element

After you have developed the XSLT stylesheet, you have to create an XML Refactoring operation descriptor. This descriptor is used by the application to load the operation details such as name, description, or parameters.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<refactoringOperationDescriptor 
 xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
 xmlns="http://www.oxygenxml.com/ns/xmlRefactoring" 
 id="convert-attribute-to-element" 
 name="Convert attribute to element">
 <description>Converts the specified attribute to an element. 
           The new element will be inserted as first child of the attribute's
           parent element.</description>    
 <!-- For the XSLT stylesheet option uncomment the following line and comment
           the line referring the XQuery Update script -->
 <!-- <script type="XSLT" href="convert-attribute-to-element.xsl"/> --> 
 <script type="XQUERY_UPDATE" href="convert-attribute-to-element.xq"/>
  <parameters>
   <description>Specify the attribute to be converted to element.</description>
    <section label="Parent element">
     <elementParameter id="elemID">
      <localName label="Name" name="element_localName" allowsAny="true">
       <description>Local name of the parent element.</description>            
        </localName>
       <namespace label="Namespace" name="element_namespace" allowsAny="true">
         <description>Local name of the parent element</description>            
       </namespace>        
     </elementParameter>
    </section>
    <section label="Attribute">
     <attributeParameter dependsOn="elemID">
      <localName label="Name" name="attribute_localName">
       <description>Name of the attribute to be converted.</description>
      </localName>
     <namespace label="Namespace" name="attribute_namespace" allowsAny="true">
       <description>Namespace of the attribute to be converted.</description>
     </namespace>        
     </attributeParameter>
    </section>
    <section label="New element">
        <elementParameter>
           <localName label="Name" name="new_element_localName">
               <description>The name of the new element.</description>
           </localName>
           <namespace label="Namespace" name="new_element_namespace">
               <description>The namespace of the new element.</description>
           </namespace>        
        </elementParameter>
    </section>
  </parameters>
</refactoringOperationDescriptor>
Note: If you are using an XSLT file, the line with the script element would look like this:
 <script type="XSLT" href="convert-attribute-to-element.xsl"/>

Results

After you have created these files, copy them into a folder scanned by Oxygen XML Editor when it loads the custom operation. When the XML Refactoring tool is started again, you will see the created operation.

Since various parameters can be specified, this custom operation can also be used for other similar tasks. The following image shows the parameters that can be specified in our example of the custom operation to convert an attribute to an element:

Figure: Example: XML Refactoring Wizard for a Custom Operation

Using Saxon Extension Functions to Allow Custom Refactoring Operations to Read and Modify Content Outside the Root Node

One advantage to using an XSLT stylesheet is that there is limitation when using an XQuery Update script in that refactoring operations can only be performed on comments or processing instructions that are inside the root element. Thus, using the XQuery method, comments or processing instructions that are in any node before or after the root element cannot be modified by an XML Refactoring operation.

The XSLT stylesheet method offers a work around to this limitation through the use of some Saxon extension functions.

To illustrate the use of these functions, consider the following sample XML file:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!-- comment before root -->
<?pi before root ?>
<root>
    <child></child>
</root>
<!-- comment after root -->
<?pi after root ?>
The following Saxon extension functions can be used to read and modify content outside the root node:
Note: They belong to the http://www.oxygenxml.com/ns/xmlRefactoring/functions namespace.
  • get-content-after-root() - Returns the content after root as xs:string.
    For the XML above, the call of this function will return the following string value:
    <!-- comment after root -->
    <?pi after root ?>
  • set-content-after-root(xs:string) - Updates the content that will be serialized in the refactored document after the root node.
    The function call set-content-after-root('&lt;!-- Inserted comment -->') will result in replacing the nodes after the root element with the comment passed as string argument. The XML document will be modified as follows:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <!-- comment before root -->
    <?pi before root ?>
    <root>
        <child></child>
    </root><!-- Inserted comment -->
  • get-content-before-root() - Returns the content before root as xs:string.
    For the XML above, the call of this function will return the following string value:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <!-- comment before root -->
    <?pi before root ?>
  • set-content-before-root(xs:string) - Updates the content that will be serialized in the refactored document after the root node.
    The function call set-content-before-root('&lt;!-- Inserted comment -->') will result in replacing the nodes before the root element with the comment passed as string argument. The XML document will be modified as follows:
    <!-- Inserted comment --><root>
        <child></child>
    </root>
    <!-- comment after root -->
    <?pi after root ?>

XSLT Example:

To process content after the root node, the XSLT would look like this:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<xsl:stylesheet xmlns:xsl="http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform"
    xmlns:xs="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema" exclude-result-prefixes="xs"
    xmlns:xrf="http://www.oxygenxml.com/ns/xmlRefactoring/functions" version="3.0">
    <xsl:template match="/">
        <!-- The comment content that will be inserted after the root element -->
        <xsl:variable name="commentAsText">&lt;!-- COMMENT ADDED FROM XR OPERATION-->
        </xsl:variable>
        <!-- Retrieve the content after the root element as is -->
        <xsl:variable name="after-root-content" as="xs:string" 
                            select="xrf:get-content-after-root()"/>

        <xsl:variable name="processedContent" 
                            select="concat($after-root-content, $commentAsText)"/>
        
        <!-- Update the content after the root element -->
        <xsl:value-of select="xrf:set-content-after-root($processedContent)"/>

        <xsl:apply-templates/>
    </xsl:template>

    <xsl:template match="node() | @*">
        <xsl:copy>
            <xsl:apply-templates select="node() | @*"/>
        </xsl:copy>
    </xsl:template>
</xsl:stylesheet>
Note: The above XSLT retrieves the nodes after the root element as string, appends a new comment, and then sets back the updated content into the XML document.