Writing reflexive extension functions in Java
Reflexive extension functions written in Java map the namespace of the XPath function name to a Java fully-qualified class name, and the local name of the function to a Java method or field name.
An extension function is invoked using a name such as
The prefix must be the prefix associated with a namespace declaration that is in scope.
The namespace URI is used to identify a Java class, and the local name is used to identify
a method, field, or constructor within the class.
There are a number of extension functions supplied with the Saxon product: for details, see
Extensions. The source code of these methods, which
in most cases is extremely simple, can be used as an example for writing
other user extension functions. It is found in class
The command line option -TJ is useful for debugging the loading of Java extensions. It gives detailed information about the methods that are examined for a possible match.
Identifying the Java Class
There are various ways a mapping from URIs to Java classes can be established.
The simplest is to use a URI that identifies the Java class explicitly.
The namespace URI should be "java:" followed by the fully-qualified class name
The class must be on the classpath.
The Saxon namespace URI
http://saxon.sf.net/ is recognised as a special case. In most cases it causes the
function to be loaded from the class
net.sf.saxon.functions.Extensions but in a few cases,
saxon:evaluate, the function is recognized by the compiler as if it were a built-in function.
The various EXSLT namespaces are also recognized specially.
In XSLT, the system function
function-available(String name) returns true if there appears
to be a method available with the right name. The function also has an optional second argument to test whether
there is a method with the appropriate
number of arguments. However, it is not possible to test whether the arguments are of appropriate types.
If the function name is "new" it
returns true so long as the class is not an abstract class or interface, and so long as it has at least
Identifying the Java constructor, method, or field
The local name used in the XPath function call determines which constructor, method, or field of the Java class is invoked. This decision (called binding) is always made at the time the XPath expression is compiled. If methods are overloaded, static type information will be used to decide between them.
If the local name is
new, a constructor is invoked. If several constructors are available, the one that is chosen is based on the number and types of the supplied arguments.
In other cases, the system looks for a matching method or field.
Firstly, the name must match, after converting hyphenated names to camelCase, which is done by removing any hyphen in the XPath name and forcing the immediately following character to upper case. For example the XPath function call
to-string()matches the Java method
toString(); but the function call can also be written as
toString()if you prefer.
Secondly, the number of arguments must match, after taking into account that (a) if the Java method expects a first argument of class
net.sf.saxon.expr.XPathContextthen this will be supplied automatically by the system and does not correspond to any explicit argument in the XPath function call, and (b) when invoking an instance-level (non-static) method or field, the XPath function call must supply an extra first argument, which identifies the target object for the invocation.
A public field in a class is treated as if it were a zero-argument method, so public static fields can be accessed in the same way as public static methods, and public instance-level fields in the same way as instance-level methods.
If there are several matching methods, the one that is chosen is determined by comparing the static types of the supplied arguments with the required types in the method signature. See Choosing among overloaded methods.