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RE: Questioning XSL

  • From: "Buss, Jason A" <jabuss@c...>
  • To: "'David Megginson'" <david@m...>
  • Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 15:18:17 -0500

RE: Questioning XSL
I dunno guys, I really am looking forward to using XML for full-blown
production.  The first "language" I ever learned from front to back (besides
BASIC on my VIC20 and GEOS on my C64) was SGML.  Some may not count that as
a language, but whole new ideas and concepts sprang from the learning
process.  Then I sat down to learn C.  Arrrrrgh....

The same thing with DSSSL.  I learned how to write some decent DSSSL
scripts, then decided I would tackle Scheme, thinking it wouldn't be that
bad of a leap.  My mistake.  Of course I may just not be a natural
programmer.  Or maybe I haven't had that "epiphany" that I had with SGML
after 2 long and frustrating months of trying to understand entities,
SUBDOCS, CDATA, SDATA, ect.  and then reading some small, tucked away
webpage and just sitting there in my chair going "ooooooohhh....
ahhhhhhh....", then turning around and putting all the syntax and structure
and concepts that I learned to real use.

Basically, what I am trying to say is XSL has (most of) the functionality
needed to transform/format markup, without learning a scripting language.  I
know a lot of people who use HTML and CSS, but just do not like javascript
or perl.  For the intricate maintenance of an enormous corporate website
using web-enabled databases, sure, scripting is necessary.  But maybe
someday, it won't have to be.  That may be the key to large-scale
acceptance.  People who want XML to extend their sites/pages beyond HTML,
and nothing more.  You can do a lot with perl.  You can do a lot with java,
and scheme, and vbscript, and all these other scripting languages.  But what
if you don't want to?  Why should people have to learn a whole new language
just to change some of their pages from one doctype to another?  Or to build
a stylesheet?  Granted if the browsers would give 100% support to CSS1 and
CSS2, there might not be an enormous need for XML for formatting.  But the
transformation is important.  That's what I like about DSSSL.  Not only can
you go from one SGML or XML doctype to another, but you can add backends to
transform to a number of file formats.

<hope>
I just want to see XSL stabilize and make recommendation status, and see
what vendors do with it.  You never know.  It may end up tucked away as
public domain software run from the command line that the average person
won't bother messing with (similar to DSSSL) or there may be some really
impressive, user-friendly, straightforward tools that spring forth from this
and scripting languages may just wane in popularity among the general
populace who build their homepages at Geocities, or post sites on the few
megs of server space their ISP gives them with their dialup account.</hope>

All the implications of XML for e-commerce and corporate websites, portals
and the like is all fine and good.  But it just ain't what the internet is
about.  It's information given freely for anyone that wants or needs it.  I
have probably learned more off the internet in the last year than I have in
the 7 years since I have been out of high school.  It would be very
beneficial to the growth of the net if the scripting was left to
programmers, and anyone that just had something to say had an easy way of
doing it.

Here's to wishful thinking,

-Jason

Has anyone checked out http://www.cluetrain.com
(I think Dave Winer is a part of this group...  good show, man...)

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	David Megginson [SMTP:david@m...]
> Paul Prescod writes:
> 
>  > Abandoning a language you know well is not so rare. Most Python
>  > users are refugees from other languages that seemed perfect for a
>  > while (Perl, Scheme, Smalltalk) but got less perfect as they became
>  > expert at it.
> 
> Wow!  I've never had the experience of using a language that seemed
> perfect, or even nearly so.  There is an exhilaration that comes with
> finally understanding a new way of thinking (say, moving from BASIC to
> functional programming, or from functional to object oriented, or from
> dumb OO programming to design patterns), but I've never mistaken that
> for a real orgasm.
> 
> When I hear Paul oohing and aahing over Python, I'm tempted to order
> what he's having.
> 
> 
> All the best,
> 
> 
> David
> 
> -- 
> David Megginson                 david@m...
>            http://www.megginson.com/
> 
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