Questioning XSL

David Megginson david at
Fri May 21 15:54:47 BST 1999

Kay Michael writes:

 > Arguably, the cost-benefit of using XSL versus custom processing is
 > greater in the 1,000 page case than in the 1,000,000 page case,
 > because in the latter you can afford extra development effort to
 > achieve better run-time performance.

An interesting perspective -- in other words, you're suggesting that
standardising on XSL actually becomes relatively *less* important as
the scale of the project increases.  That might be a reasonable
consequence of the suggestion that an increase in the quantity of
documentation (of the same type) leads to an increase in the benefit
of standardising on XML, but not on XSL.  

On the other hand, with a large project (especially one that's
distributed over several centres), you do have to consider the cost of
maintenance; this one ends up as a split decision:

1. XSL will be easier to maintain because it is mostly declarative
   rather than procedural, and there is less room for obfuscation
   (please don't take that as a dare, though).

2. Perl (or Java, etc.) will be easier to maintain because there is a
   large pool of Perl developers to draw on, while XSL specialists
   will probably be few and expensive, at least for the next few

All the best,


p.s. I *loved* DSSSL, and will probably learn to love XSL once I get
     around to learning it properly; I'm discussing the business
     merits here, not the technical ones.

David Megginson                 david at

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