Extract Last Node in Variable

deleyd used Ask the Experts™
<xsl:stylesheet version="1.0"
  <xsl:output method="xml"/>

  <xsl:template match="/">
      <xsl:variable name="v">
        <xsl:call-template name="HelloWorld"/>
      <xsl:variable name="x" select="v/*[position() != last()]"/>
      <xsl:copy-of select="$x"/>          

  <xsl:template name="HelloWorld">
    <p>Hello world!</p>

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I'm trying to strip off the "5" which is appended to the end. My desired output is
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?><html><body><p>Hello world!</p></body></html>

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and I would also like to get that "5" into a variable.

The debugger shows variable v is:

Debugger outputand variable x is empty (my select isn't working).

Update: I see I forgot the $. Change that line to:
<xsl:variable name="x" select="$v/*[position() != last()]"/>

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and now I get an exception which says, "To use a result tree fragment in a path expression, first convert it to a node-set using the msxsl:node-set()". Great. (I actually used to know this stuff a few years ago! I've forgotten it all! How do I convert this to a node-set?)
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Gertone (Geert Bormans)Information Architect
Top Expert 2006

XSLT1 copies bits and pieces into a result tree
You can build a part of that output tree as a result tree fragment in a variable,
but you can only copy that, but not XPath it

using the node-set() function

put this namespace in the stylesheet element

then you can transform the result tree fragment into a node-set with the extension function msxsl:node-set() and execute an XPath on the node-set
select="msxsl:node-set($v)/*[position() != last()]

Each XSLT1 processor had a variant of the node-set() function, but it caused code to become vendor specific
XSLT2 fixed this by allowing nodesets in variables and address them
so, my next hint to explore Saxon .net ;-)
Information Architect
Top Expert 2006
I do prefer
select="msxsl:node-set($v)/*[not(position() = last())]
to avoid the surprises of '=' being a set compare

Your example is a bit artificial... I try to avoid working on variables like this, by constructing better XPaths along teh way
but that is hard to demonstrate on this artificial example

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