Reliability of client-side XSLT transformations

I've received an interesting question on my “Search Engine Optimization in XML+XSLT designs” post:
Are there considerable browser-specific differences in xsl transformation, or am I being overly cautious?
I've been using browser-side XSLT processing for three years. Although I had initial share of problems with IE5 and some releases of IE6 (finally forcing me to perform server-side transformations for IE5), IE6/7 and Firefox behave almost identically as long as your XSLT is valid. Firefox is a bit more relaxed in error handling, so it might survive an invalid stylesheet and ignore the error. Handling XML/XSLT errors on IE is a nightmare: if the XSLT transformation fails, it's almost impossible to reload the document without closing the browser (obviously IE has some serious caching problems with XML documents). To test new XSLT transformations, I usually force server-side transformations and receive good error messages from server's MSXML.

Opera is a different story. It didn't support XSLT until pretty recently and even then the document() function was broken. I have simply decided not to offer XML data to Opera visitors (they are a minority anyway) and Safari is not widespread enough in my customer base to notice.

This post is part of You've asked for it series of articles.

1 comment:

fekke said...

Hello Ivan! I'm having a problem with a web application running under Apache Tomcat / Coyote / JBoss server. Firefox displays the HTML properly and Internet Explorer does not. I think the problem is that the xsl transformation is done server-side for FF, and IE is trying to do the transformation client-side but something goes wrong.

Do you know how to force server-side transformation?

I would appreciate your help.

Best regards,


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