Re: Rescuing XSLT from Niche Status
On Friday, February 16, 2001 8:18 PM Roger L. Costello wrote: > A colleague of mine has written an excellent paper describing a new way > of looking at creating XSLT documents. I think that you will find the > paper very thought provoking. Well it certainly provoked some thoughts in me, above all, how can anybody really think this is new? Dig back into some of the earliest layers on the Microsoft xml site and you'll find "introductions" that are entirely built around this pull approach, written by people who thought this was just a sort of ASP with a few more funny brackets in slightly different places. And, from my admittedly limited experience of trying to teach people XSLT, I find that if they're encouraged to do things this way from the start they certainly start off happier and see results faster, but eventually they ask, why not just use PHP, which has a simpler syntax and is more tolerant of trial and error (i.e. if you get something nearly right you get some sort of results, whereas write select = "gunge" when you meant select="'gunge'" you'll be staring at zero output). And I don't have an answer to that question if XSLT is understood as a scripting mechanism, not as a tool for styling in the broadest sense. I'm not sure XSLT really is in a "niche" from which it needs rescuing. This group is one of the most interesting ones I know because it's highly specialised but not at all cliquey: passers-by, even with the daftest FAQ's, are made to feel at home. And above all a lot of the more technically abstruse responses are invited by problems that are themselves intrinsically complex, and couldn't be solved by a subset of XSLT practices that tried to be indistinguishable from html scripting languages. OK the paper is just saying, "this is a more promising starting point"; but I'm not convinced that if you make such a big thing of *that" as a starting point people are ever going to get as far as they might if the full power (and therefore difficulty) of the thing is plain from the start. Consider how many of the problems that crop up here come from people thinking of XSLT as filtering an input stream into an output stream instead of transforming one tree representation into another. So the S and the T are both important, and I don't think it's kind to keep them hidden too long from beginners. Michael ------------------------------------------ Michael Beddow http://www.mbeddow.net/ XSL-List info and archive: http://www.mulberrytech.com/xsl/xsl-list
PURCHASE STYLUS STUDIO ONLINE TODAY!
Purchasing Stylus Studio from our online shop is Easy, Secure and Value Priced!
Download The World's Best XML IDE!
Accelerate XML development with our award-winning XML IDE - Download a free trial today!
Subscribe in XML format