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Inside every fat book is a thin book trying to get out (a tribute to Jam

  • From: "Costello, Roger L." <costello@m...>
  • To: <xml-dev@l...>
  • Date: Sun, 18 May 2008 17:06:14 -0400

Inside every fat book is a thin book trying to get out (a tribute to Jam
Hi Folks,

James Clark is one of the leaders in the XML community

James played a key role in the creation of XSLT and XPath 1.0
(http://www.w3.org/TR/xslt and http://www.w3.org/TR/xpath)

The more I reflect on it, the more impressed I am with XSLT/XPath 1.0.
It is an amazingly simple language.  With its simple features, most
everything you need to do can be done.

The essence of the field of Complex Adaptive Systems is: by following
simple rules agents are able to generate tremendous complexity.  With
XSLT/XPath 1.0, James Clark (et al) created a simple technology that
enables the generation of tremendous complexity.

Although XSLT/XPath 1.0 doesn't have all the whiz-bang stuff of
XSLT/XPath 2.0, it mostly does everything that is needed for
transforming an XML document.  

Compare the sizes of the specifications for XSLT and XPath 1.0 and 2.0:

XSLT 1.0  ... 94 pages  
XPath 1.0 ... 33 pages

XSLT 2.0  ... 374 pages
XPath 2.0 ... 340 pages 

Recently I've been reading a tutorial on Namespace Routing Language
(NRL), written by James Clark
(http://www.thaiopensource.com/relaxng/nrl.html).  NRL is a forerunner
to NVDL.  In 10 pages James packs an enormous amount of knowledge.
What really makes it incredible, however, is that those 10 pages are
clear and easy to read.

Rather than feature-laden, complex technologies, James creates simple
technologies that can be used to generate tremendous complexity.

Rather than lengthy tutorials, James creates short, knowledge-dense

Using few words he is able to express an enormous amount of knowledge.

James Clark is a person who can take a fat book, extract its true
essence, and produce a thin book.  

I want to be like James Clark.


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