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RE: XPath for matching multiple child elements

Subject: RE: XPath for matching multiple child elements
From: Wendell Piez <wapiez@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 02 Oct 2006 10:13:49 -0400
xpath child
At 12:39 PM 9/29/2006, you wrote:
> On the other hand, I'm not sure pipelining in itself is any more (or
> less) "natural" than template matching;

Yes, but the point about maintainability isn't that the design is
necessarily easier to establish in the first place, it's that it's open to
change and resistant to structural decay once in place. In particular, new
functionality can often be introduced by adding a pipeline component, which
means there is minimal need to understand the internal logic of existing
components, and minimal risk of destabilizing them.

This makes sense; maybe I should be more careful to distinguish maintainability in this sense from "learnability", which has long-term maintenance implications of its own, but not perhaps with regard to the engineering as such. Both are virtues and in the ideal case, both are possible. Yet there are plenty of times when the sophisticated design most conducive to maintenance in the senses you describe might also be somewhat obscure or hard to understand, at least to the beginner. (Then they get that "aha" and what was baffling becomes beautiful.)

Of course, not every design has to be idiot-proofed, at least if one expects to be doing the maintenance oneself. Or maybe I should rethink that too....


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