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MapServer is able to load XML mapfiles automatically, without user XSLT tranformations. Basicly, MapServer will simply do an XSLT transformation when the mapfile passed to it is an XML one, convert it to a text mapfile in a temporary file on disk, then process the mapfile normally.
You can enable the XML mapfile support by adding the following option: –with-xml-mapfile. This configure option will enable the libxslt and libexslt check up. If your libxslt/libexslt are not installed in /usr, you’ll have to add the following options:
In order to enable this feature, set the MS_XMLMAPFILE_XSLT environment variable to point to the location of the XSLT to use for the XML->text mapfile conversion. e.g. in Apache:
SetEnv MS_XMLMAPFILE_XSLT /path/to/mapfile.xsl PassEnv MS_XMLMAPFILE_XSLT
With this enabled, passing an .xml filename to the CGI map parameter will automatically trigger the conversion.
This is a first step to XML mapfile loading support. Obviously, there is a cost to parse and translate the XML mapfile, but this allows easier use of XML mapfiles.