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Re: XML/XSLT for web templating

Subject: Re: XML/XSLT for web templating
From: Alessandro Bologna <alessandro.bologna@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 9 Oct 2007 11:10:43 -0400
Re:  XML/XSLT for web templating
Thank you all for your responses, they are very much appreciated.

I agree with Michael that quite often in this circumstances the technical merit is not nearly as important as the ability to persuade people that the technology in question is not a threat to their careers, but instead a chance to work better. At the same time, especially in IT, especially in really large publishing companies, you could expect a bit more openness towards new ways of doing things... Things have changes quite a lot in that field, since Gutenberg...

And, Kamal, I don't know either who puts that misinformation out, but it is a fact that there's a lot of otherwise very smart people working in the software industry who are simply considering XSLT too much of a foreign object to be understood, and keep the tales going.
At the same is true that, in my experience, once I sit with them and show them how XML is not that complicated to deal with, if you can use XSLT, they often change their heart. As Alex put it, to not use is really masochism.


Has anybody noticed how still today (10 years after its introduction) people think of XML as CSV, but just more complicated and using angle brackets instead of commas? Aren't all the other "templating" solutions treating XHTML as plain text?
How many times on this list have we seen somebody asking "why <a href="<xsl:value-of select="link"/>"> doesn't work"? Or how about the question "how do I open a tag inside an <xsl:if>?".


The number of products that convert XML into Java beans is another example of how little it is assimilated in the programmer's mind that XML can be a data structure that can be used directly. It seems that the driver to stay away from it is so strong that it doesn't matter if the XML is highly unstructured, it doesn't matter that for every frequent change in the schema the entire application needs to be recompiled and deployed, anything it's still better than dealing with it.

I realize that I may be preaching to the chorus, but it's hard not to be frustrated.

In any case, the reason why I originally wrote was to see if there was anybody who had experience with large scale deployments in the world of web publishing, that are using XML and XSLT and that could volunteer to share that experience. Of course I realize that there may be more than one constrain and NDAs to prevent doing so, but still, asking should be ok...

And yes, of course, I am aware of Coocon as a platform, Lenya, the Docbook standard etc, but one of the most common objections that I face is "there's no large site that uses it". Somebody recently even reported "eBay was using it, but now they are moving to JSP because it doesn't work". Since there's no sticker that says "made with XSLT" or "powered by Saxon" (maybe we should start doing it) and transformed pages are still .html, it's hard to provide evidence of the contrary.

And, last, and half jokingly, why don't we start a "fear-not- xslt.com" collective blog? It could be not such a bad resource for w3c evangelists...
Thanks for your time again to all. It is true that this mailing list is one of the most generous and active ones. I think I haven't seen yet one single question going unanswered, no matter how naive or complicated.


Regards,
Alessandro

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