Re: question about identity transform
Thanks to Michael and David both for your excellent replies pinpointing why this distinction matters for users: side effects and reliance thereon. I'm afraid I have the opposite problem compared to all the imperative programmers demanding to know why XSLT doesn't allow assignment statements. I cut my programming teeth on XSLT Programmer's Reference. I'm so firmly entrenched in declarative programming (and avoidance of any extensions that cause side effects) that I sometimes forget that, in the larger programming world, side effects are the way you do programming. Wendell, I'm afraid it's not so much that my pragmatic concern for users makes me want to protect them from learning things they could get by without. Rather, because of my well-insulated experience in the world of declarative programming, I forget that we even need to make this distinction in the first place. For a declarative programmer, time is just a metaphor! (Of course xsl:message might output in a different order than result order--that's the implementor's business, not mine!) If you pretend that imperative programming doesn't exist, then you can freely use time as a metaphor without introducing the possibility for confusion. Until you can truly escape from the grips of the imperative mindset, then, yes, I see that time, "processing order", etc. are dangerous metaphors. Evan
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