What Does Xalan Mean?

Xalan is an open-source software library used to transform Extensible Markup Language (XML) documents into Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) or other types of markup languages. Xalan uses XML Extensible Stylesheet Transformations (XSLT) to provide efficient and full-featured support to various platforms and may be used in Java and C++ with the help of separate XSLT processors for both languages.


Created by IBM, Xalan is supported by the Apache Software Foundation.

Techopedia Explains Xalan

Xalan is geared toward simplifying the process of converting XML data to another markup language. Xalan has two subprojects, as follows:

  • Xalan C++: Implements XSL version 1.0 specified by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). It also uses the XML Path Language (XPath) version 1.0. Xerces C++ parser parses XSL style sheets and XML documents. The parser input may be a file, Document Object Model (DOM), URL or data stream.
  • Xalan Java: Uses XSL Transformation version 1.0 and XML Path Language version 1.0. XSL contains information regarding mapping XML to HTML and other markup languages. Xerces Java is the default processor and may be used to perform XSL mapping in Java. However, other parsers may be selected, based on requirements and availability. Input may be a URL, byte stream, DOM or XML file. Because Java is an interpreted language, Xalan Java uses a separate compiling processor and interpreting processor, where the former meets high-performance issues, and the latter is used for debugging. It implements Java API for XML Processing version 1.3 and SAX2 and DOM level 3.

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Margaret Rouse
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Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.