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Re: <quote>XSL is NOT easy</quote>

Subject: Re: <quote>XSL is NOT easy</quote>
From: Wendell Piez <wapiez@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2007 17:12:17 -0400
Re:  <quote>XSL is NOT easy</quote>
At 03:18 PM 6/26/2007, Norias wrote:
At 1:01 PM -0400 6/26/07, Robert Koberg wrote:
> no you haven't. you have defended XSL's ease of use.

That's not fair and it doesn't further the conversation. Wendell has said
MANY things on this list and expressed a variety of opinions. You find one thing
he said once that differs from his current statement and assume that this all he
has ever said.

You owe Wendell an apology.

Norias, thanks (I owe you), but no apology is necessary. Robert is entitled to be wrong once in a while. I doubt that he intended the post to sound the way it came out.

In this case, he's correct that I have defended XSLT's ease of use, while wrong about whether I've never remarked on why some find it difficult. (As you say, I've said many things on this list.)

Nic said:

I think XSLT is quite good for non-programmers, it's programmers with
some experience of other things that find it really difficult I've

If I had 10pence for the number of times I've seen a programmer try to
do something imperative in XSLT and get really, really, cross with it.

I do agree with this. Nor is it inconsistent with my experience that XSLT "is" or "can be" easy.

That XSLT is "basically easy" does not mean that everyone finds it so. That issue hinges on whether ease-of-use is an intrinsic property of the language, or something more subjective. In my experience (and I have plenty of experience teaching XSLT to all kinds of people), those who find it difficult are also those who are resistant to taking the language as it is, and instead insist on treating it as it (as they believe it) "should be". But that doesn't make the language intrinsically difficult any more than it means it's "actually" easy for them, but they don't know it.

(I also think that just because XSLT is "basically easy" doesn't mean that it's equally good at everything, or that solving any problem with it, however intrinsically difficult or unsuited to it, will be easy.)

Once I had a German professor (I mean, a Professor of German) who used to tell us "German is easy. In Germany, even the kids speak it fluently".

Aren't search engines great? If you really care, check out what I said four years ago, in a different context:


It's not inconsistent with what I'm saying now. If anything has changed, it might be that I now have a bit more sympathy with those who find it (or anything) difficult. (About that, Robert is correct.)

Mike said
It's also true of course that many computer science graduates have a lot
still to learn. I certainly did when I was a new graduate. I still have now,
that's one of the things you learn....

And I was never as smart as I was when I was eighteen years old. Then I had it all figured out, but ever since I've been learning of more and more things about which I haven't the slightest clue.


Wendell Piez                            mailto:wapiez@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Mulberry Technologies, Inc.                http://www.mulberrytech.com
17 West Jefferson Street                    Direct Phone: 301/315-9635
Suite 207                                          Phone: 301/315-9631
Rockville, MD  20850                                 Fax: 301/315-8285
  Mulberry Technologies: A Consultancy Specializing in SGML and XML

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