Re: Application Design
Sean McGrath wrote: > > James Clark himself has been known to post to this list about the application > areas where XSL is probably not the right way to go: > While I agree with both the comments quoted, I would point out that the editors of the XSLT spec weren't infallible, and if anything tended to err on the side of being over-conservative about scope. For example, restricting RTFs (Result Tree Fragment, the data type mainly returned by complex operations) so that it could only be processed as a string, not as a XML sub-tree, turns out to have been fairly gratuitous. > > > Summary: > > XSLT has its uses but it is surprisingly useless in some > common server-side scenarios. > We have found it fairly effective, though the lack of debuggers has been a nuisance. There is a learning process, but everyone using XML needs to learn XPath anyway (*please* don't tell me anyone is seriously programming complex transformations by using pure DOM navigation) and once you've go that, the rest of XSLT isn't that indigestible - certainly no more of a leap than going from sequential to event-based programming. > XSLT gets complicated quickly. The side-effect free nature > of its processing model causes much pain for developers. > The theoretical reason for this - parallelization of execution > of the stylesheet - seems to me to be unjustified. It puts too > much complexity on the programmers plate for what is after > all an optimisation feature. > Some bits are complicated, especially to do with grouping and loops. But if people couldn't cope with declarative stuff neither SQL nor regular expressions would have taken off. I can still remember people telling me how complicated SQL was to learn. As Keynes said (more or less), today's common sense is just yesterday's theories. > Arguments against the "just use XSLT" mantra, including this > one, will be pooh poohed by vendors who know full > well what the limitations are but see lots of $$$ in > debuggers, visual tools, consulting etc. etc. > I suspect that most popular programming language more complicated than DOS batch language have an IDE or two, and a user base split between those who understand the fundamentals and those who just know how to use the IDE. Francis.
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