Detect whether your browser has a working XSLT implementation

After I’ve finally managed to persuade IE7, FF and Transform jQuery plugin to work with my XSL documents, I’ve started testing the other two browsers I have: Opera and Chrome. The latest release of Opera might occasionally work. Chrome fails (as expected) as it doesn’t support xsl:import. Welcome to the next round of browser incompatibilities.

I’ve decided to ignore Chrome until the great minds @ Google decide to implement XSLT properly. Visitors using it will have reduced experience … but of course I have to detect whether I should use XSLT or not.

Here’s a small Christmas gift if you have similar issues: a jQuery extension that checks whether the current visitor can use XSLT transformations.

jQuery.xslt = {
  need: function(success,url,xml) {
    var componentCount = 0;
    var xslt;
    var el;
    var debug=1;
    function tryTransform() {
      if (typeof(xslt) != 'object') return; // XSL did not parse into XML object
      var html = $.transform({xmlstr: xml, xslobj: xslt, async: false});
      if (!html) return;

    function gotScript() {

      function transformFail(html,xsl,xml,obj,ex) { 
        if(debug) alert ("$.xslt.need failed:"+ex.message); }
      function transfromDone(html,xsl,xml,obj) { 
        $.xslt.has =$.xslt.expectedResult) >= 0;
        if ($.xslt.has && success) success();
      el = $("<div>");
      el.transform({xmlstr: xml, xsl: url, 
        success: transfromDone, error: transformFail});
    url = url ? url : $.xslt.defaultURL;
    xml = xml ? xml : $.xslt.defaultXML;
  has: false,
  defaultURL: "/forms/xml/static.xsl",
  defaultXML: "<section />",
  transformScript: "/common/js/jquery.transform.packed.js",
  expectedResult:  /table/i

The extension implements a simple function and a property: $.xslt.need() and $.xslt.has. You can pass the URL to the sample XSL document and the sample XML markup to the need function; it also supports a success callback to tell you whether you should install XSL-related action handlers.

The need function loads the jQuery Transform plugin (reducing the load time if the page does not need the XSLT functionality) and tries to transform a sample XSL document. The sample transformation should be as complex as possible: you should use xsl:import, xsl:include or the document() function if you use them in other transformations.

You could change the default parameters in the source code or write a setup function.

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