First experiences with XSL

Marcus Carr mrc at
Sun Feb 1 22:43:42 GMT 1998

len bullard wrote:

> Can anyone show that XSL (if indeed, a Turing complete language) is any easier
> than Java?  XSL is a programmig language and there are far more mortals
> (programmers in some cases) who understand and can easily use Java than

I live in hope of the day when I finally see a file come out of a word processor
as XML, preceded by a DTD and an XSL style sheet. Rather than just regard XSL as
programming language, I would like to see it used as a common application
formatting syntax, as was tried with RTF. Assuming the users are going to do
pretty much whatever they want to as far as tagging is concerned (either for
legacy data or ongoing), conversion from one DTD to another will always be far
easier than conversion from an unstructured document to a structured one. This is
particularly true when you consider in current conversions how much structure is
implied from formatting characteristics (although this would presumably be
substantially diminished with more structured documents). From the perspective of
conversion of data (perhaps from a somewhat sloppy creation model to a more
concise storage model), a parseable, reasonably regular stylesheet would seem to
have advantages over Java.

Also, it may ultimately be desirable to produce an XSL document from some source,
interface or language that suits your individual needs better, thus XSL again
behaves as an interchange format. I think this fits well with the spirit of

> So, one might retreat to the defense of "But it is a standard" and there one
> would have a point.

There are other reasons, but the one you give above is also difficult to go past


Marcus Carr                  email:  mrc at
Allette Systems (Australia)  email:  info at
Level 10, 91 York Street     www:
Sydney 2000 NSW Australia    phone:  +61 2 9262 4777
                             fax:    +61 2 9262 4774

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