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Language is not markup and markup is not language.

Subject: Language is not markup and markup is not language.
From: David LeBlanc <whisper@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 07 May 1999 00:57:07 -0700
elephant mousehole
I have noticed that the introduction of procedural language as markup in
XSL has been more or less a non-event. I do not understand why XML (which,
contraty to it's name, is not a language per se), benefits from having
percedural language masquerading as markup? It seems analgous to putting
style information into an XML tag set instead of focusing on what XML is
intended for: recording information about the structure of data.

To make it short, sweet and to the point, adding a bunch of decorations in
the form of <xsl:blather>....</xsl:blather> instead of a nice <script
language = "some conformant language"> script content </script> with a well
defined set of requirements of what "some conformant language" needs to
provide (such as Unicode, multi-platform availability, a standard
transformation library, etc.) seems pointless. (Unless of course, there's a
behind the scenes political battle raging along the lines of "if it's not
going to be MY language, it sure as hell isn't going to be YOUR language".
This may be the only saving grace of this whole xsl:statement fiasco, it's
not going to be Basic!)

This does not even begin to address the abandonment of the man years and
even man centuries of work that have gone into developing languages such as
pearl, tcl, javascript and yes, even lisp and basic, that either are or
could be made conformant to a reasonable set of requirements instead of
another round of learning yet another language (xsl procedural markup) and
it's idiosyncracies. It seems to me that the time of the XSL comittee could
be better spent developing a good STYLE and/or TRANSFORMATION notation
rather then diluting the effort with procedural language elements.

Has the notion of KISS been lost in the interest of some abstract elegance
that appears to perform no useful purpose?

One may indeed be able to push the elephant through the mouse hole, but the
resulting white (loss of blood) elephant may end up on the rubbish heap due
to lack of use, interest, or convenient utility.

Excuse me while I seek a fall out shelter now.

Dave LeBlanc

P.S. Those who would argue that XML is a language might care to look up the
notion of Turing Completeness among other things that diferentiate a
programming language from a data structuring notation.

P.P.S Of course, if xslt does fail as a standard, it does leave the door
open for some other defacto standard to take it's place - like partial xslt
with a <script> tag for instance. :-) Remember, it's (going to be) a
reccommendation and not a law of the universe - micronitexploderscrape not

 XSL-List info and archive:  http://www.mulberrytech.com/xsl/xsl-list

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