XQuery Unit testing in eXist-1.4

[UPDATE 2011-01-19]: As of revisions 13587 and 13589, the XQuery Unit Testing framework has been ported back from eXist-trunk to the eXist-1.4.x branch. While obsolescing the need for the XSLT stylesheet presented in this blog post, I’ll leave the latter here for the sake of documentation. eXist users who want to test XQueries in eXist-1.4 now are encouraged to use its built-in XQuery Unit Testing framework instead.

[UPDATE 2011-01-05]: The XSLT stylesheet has been extended with missing features:

  • [feature]: added @trace handling
  • [feature]: added <xpath> handling
  • [feature]: added <store-files> handling
  • [feature]: added context handling for util:eval()
  • [fix]: <![CDATA[ ]]> in output: spaces required…

[UPDATE 2010-12-09]: The XSLT stylesheet has been substantially reworked, to produce

  • more legible XQuery code
  • more reliable XQuery code, taking into account serialization options, and deriving the most sensible highlight-matches settings where necessary

Currently, I’m heavily porting old XQuery code to the latest version of the eXist XML database’s new Lucene FT index and search capabilities. In doing so, I’m hitting a couple of bugs in this area, that I’m trying to isolate, test and report as clearly as possible. This post discusses a means to use the same test files for both eXist-1.4 and eXist-trunk.

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Rendering footnotes in tables and lists with FOP

[UPDATE: Meanwhile, FOP-1.0 has been released, which fixes the bug that informed this post. The workaround described below thus is only relevant for users of FOP versions 0.92 to 0.95. For the happiest FOPping experience, stop reading here and grab your copy of FOP-1.0!]

[…or skip the discussion and just download the files]

The reason

During the past couple of years, I’ve gathered some experience working with XML and related standards (XSLT, XSL-FO, XQuery). Part of our professional document production chain involves rendering PDF output from XML sources. I’ve grown into a big fan of Apache’s open source FOP processor since its now ancient version 0.20.5. Although the FOP code has been substantially revised and improved long since, the versions up to version 0.95 were haunted by one serious bug, which kept me from switching to an up-to-date version of FOP: footnotes inside lists or table cells got swallowed in PDF output.

On the other hand, FOP’s XSL-FO compliance rate has risen substantially in the recent versions, prompting me to find a way of dealing with this nasty show-stopper. Of course, I hope the FOP developers will be able to resolve this issue soon. In the mean time, I think I’ve found a way of circumventing (or at least alleviating) the problem (at stylesheet level; not at Java code level). Moreover, I think this approach might help other users as well, and other users might help improving this approach where it doesn’t.

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