Altova Mailing List Archives

Re: [xsl] How do I check if an element exists with the same name

From: Jeni Tennison <mail@---------------->
Date: 3/26/2001 12:26:00 AM
Hi Tim,

> I'd like to convert this XML to HTML using an XLST. And here comes
> the tricky part, I'd like to let the 'input-field' template check if
> there's a 'missing-field' with the same name. Is this possible and
> if so, how?

First, you should set a variable to hold the name of the field that
you're after.  You don't have to, but it makes things a little easier.
In a template that matches an input-field element, you want the 'name'
attribute to be the value:

  <xsl:variable name="field-name" select="@name" />

Now, you can find a missing-field element with that name by comparing
its 'name' attribute with the value of the variable - if they're the
same then you have the relevant missing-field element:

  //missing-field[@name = $field-name]

If you're doing this a lot (and it looks as though you are), then you
might be better off defining a key so that you can quickly and easily
find the missing-field elements that have a particular name (if such
exist).  The key is defined with an xsl:key element, with the 'match'
attribute matching the elements that you're after (the missing-field
elements) and the 'use' attribute pointing from them to the thing that
you're indexing with (i.e. their 'name' attributes):

<xsl:key name="missing-fields-by-name"
         use="@name" />

When you have this set up, you can get hold of the missing-field
elements called 'loginName', for example, with the expression:

  key('missing-fields-by-name', 'loginName')

So you can replace the path above with:

  key('missing-fields-by-name', $field-name)

Just to explain a little why your code isn't working, here:
>         <xsl:apply-templates select="//missing-field[@name={name}]">
>           <xsl:param name="nm">
>             <xsl:value-of select="@name"/>
>           </xsl:param>
>         </xsl:apply-templates>

You're mixing up syntax between expressions and attribute value
templates.  The {...} syntax is attribute value template syntax - it
goes in attribute values that are usually interpreted literally, and
is never used within an XPath expression.

As an aside, you can simplify the way that you set the parameter as
well - you can use the select attribute on xsl:with-param (which is
what you should be using to pass parameters into a template, not
xsl:param which defines a parameter within a template) rather than its

  <xsl:with-param name="nm" select="@name" />

I think that the template that you're after is:
<xsl:template match="input-field">
  <xsl:variable name="field-name" select="@name" />
    <td width="150">
      <xsl:value-of select="@caption" />
      <xsl:if test="//missing-field[@name = $field-name]">
        <img src="./mark.gif" />
      <input type="text" size="20" name="{@name}" />

Note that XSLT is XML - you have to have quotes around attribute
values (they were missing around td/@width) and all the elements have
to be closed (the img element wasn't).

Also see the simplified syntax for setting the values of attributes
dynamically that I used for the input/@name - that's an example of an
attribute value template.

> Ps. Poster information:
>       Vendor: Microsoft
>       Processor version: Original IE5 (or old version of other processor)

Oh.  Should have read that before answering.  You should upgrade to
MSXML3, really.  Most of the above only works with XSLT, which
original IE5 doesn't support.  Have a look at the MSXML FAQ at

I hope that helps, anyway,


Jeni Tennison

 XSL-List info and archive:


These Archives are provided for informational purposes only and have been generated directly from the Altova mailing list archive system and are comprised of the lists set forth on Therefore, Altova does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, reliability, completeness, usefulness, non-infringement of intellectual property rights, or quality of any content on the Altova Mailing List Archive(s), regardless of who originates that content. You expressly understand and agree that you bear all risks associated with using or relying on that content. Altova will not be liable or responsible in any way for any content posted including, but not limited to, any errors or omissions in content, or for any losses or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of or reliance on any content. This disclaimer and limitation on liability is in addition to the disclaimers and limitations contained in the Website Terms of Use and elsewhere on the site.