It is possible to build and test an XSLT stylesheet in a non-Biztalk product such as Stylus Studio (or XML SPY). The advantages are the XSLT wonderful debuggers that these products have. You can set breakpoints, walk through the XSLT, and do things not limited by Biztalk’s Functoids. The only downside is you do need to know XSLT.

To include the external stylesheet into a map:

1) You should include the XSLT source file into the project first (especially if you are using Visual SourceSafe)

2) click on the map grid, and set the property ? Custom XSLT Path ? to filename containing the XSLT.

In it’s new release this week, Stylus Studio just added EDI and HL7 mapping. I’m not a big EDI/HL7 user, but this might be an nice alternative or cost savings to what Biztalk currently offers (i.e. Covast and the HL7 Accereraltor).

Here’s the quote from the Stylus Studio website (

EDI to XML Mapping

A new EDI-to-XML mapping tool, featuring full support for HL7, UN/EDIFACT and ANSI/X12 specs and more! Build XML enabled systems that leverage existing investments in EDI technologies.

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Filed under: XML/XSLT