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RE: SGML complexity

  • From: "Michael Kay" <mike@s...>
  • To: <juanrgonzaleza@c...>,<xml-dev@l...>
  • Date: Fri, 8 Sep 2006 13:55:20 +0100

RE:  SGML complexity
> This has been said by current XSLT editor here
> [http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/library/x-xslt/]
> Therefore with whom would i agree with he claiming that XSLT 
> is PL or with you claiming is *not* a PL.

The point I was making in that article, and it's still my view now, is that
XSLT is a special-purpose programming language. It is programming, but it's
specialized to the operations involved in transforming trees. That means,
for example, that it wouldn't be my first choice of language for writing a
parser (your maths example). I try to show in the article that it's capable
of more than some people then imagined. These days I think its computational
power is common knowledge. In a later paper I showed how XSLT 2.0 extends
the scope of applicability by illustrating its use for up-conversion tasks,
and I've also seen applications that stretch the boundaries in quite
sensible ways to present numerical data in the form of SVG graphics. It's
always been a bit of an open question how far it was wise to go; for example
there are certainly use cases where trigonometrical functions would be
useful. In my view, we've got it roughly right in XSLT 2.0 - some people
think the language has grown too big and some would have liked it to go
further, for example to support higher order functions, but you can't expect
to please everyone.

Michael Kay

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