LINQ to XML versus XSLT
Hi XSL-list LINQ to XML versus XSLT I guess that we all agree that the new LINQ to XML API is the greatest thing to happen to XML for a very long time. For an introduction see: ".NET Language-Integrated Query for XML Data", http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb308960.aspx. I have no doubts that in the .net world LINQ to XML will replace XmlWriter, W3C DOM and make XQuery mostly irrelevant. In .net we still need XmlReader for SAX like programming and validation. For us at this XSL-list the interesting question is how good LINQ to XML is to make XSLT-like transformations. Even for the simplest transformations, "fill in the blanks", LINQ to XML, in my experience, only comes in second. But considering the benefits of an almost "all-in-one" API for XML being a special implementation of a more general API for any data, LINQ, and that we in LINQ to XML have the unlimited direct power of a general programming language like C#, etc., XSLT needs to be at least twice as good to make it worth learning and to make it worth adding also an XSLT processor and XSLT stylesheets to your project, if you already have and know LINQ to XML. Until a few days ago I thought that LINQ to XML programming would never be capable of hardcore transformations like transforming WordProcessingML to XHTML. But now we have Eric White's Blog, "Using Annotations to Transform LINQ to XML Trees in an XSLT Style (Improved Approach)", http://blogs.msdn.com/ericwhite/. Also read comments of Sal Mangano and replies. Extremely interesting except that it is not correct that "The first rule that matches is the one that is applied", should be (in most situations): "The most exact". The weakness of this latest attempt of imitating XSLT transformations in LINQ to XML is that it is just an experiment trying to reinvent XSLT and to prove that even advanced XSLT-like transformations can be done with LINQ to XML. That is fascinating reading but still a far cry from a uniform way of doing things nice and easy, constituting a realistic alternative. I feel that the limited nature of XSLT is also its strength. It being a standard is unique at least for now, its stylesheet approach, templates and recursion, is unique, it being itself XML is unique, making it possible for XSLT also to transform XSLT and to create new markup the true literal way (it must be well-formed), making XSLT literal result elements easier to create and understand compared to pseudo xml literals in variables, etc. But just like we have many programming languages for anyone in any situation, I can live with the idea of having several ways of doing XSLT-like transformations. Cheers, Jesper Tverskov http://www.xmlplease.com
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