Questioning XSL

David Megginson david at
Fri May 21 19:28:04 BST 1999

Paul Prescod writes:

 > I think that it is worth noting that most of the people who are in the
 > "XSL camp" are people are thoroughly familiar with scripting languages.
 > The reverse is not true.

<request-for-clarification pedantry="off" sarcasm="off">

I'd be very interested in finding out exactly what Paul's observation
has been:

1. that most people in the anti-XSL camp are not thoroughly familiar
   with scripting languages;

2. that most people who are not thoroughly familiar with scripting
   languages are still not in the anti-XSL camp; or

3. that thorough familiarity with languages other than scripting
   languages does not automatically push someone into the anti-XSL


 > We have tried both and found the XSL way to be more
 > convenient. There is no programming language that quite captures
 > XSL's optimized mix of "polymorphic dispatch", pattern matching and
 > convenient template description.

In my experience, it has been much easier to develop and maintain
DSSSL scripts than procedural code for XML/SGML transformation or
formatting tasks, and I fully expect that (like Paul) I will have the
same experience with XSL.

Nevertheless, unless otherwise requested, I will continue to provide
my customers with (well-documented and carefully modularized) Perl
scripts or Java code for the time being, because that way they can
modify and maintain their systems themselves rather than relying on
expensive XML specialists.  Any XSL I contribute will probably sit
outside the system core, in samples, demos, free downloads, etc.

If, in the future, there is a lot of good OTS software for XSL, the
spec is stable, and there's a wide (and growing) user and developer
base, then I will happily change my strategy and rejoice that my
technical work has become a little easier.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at

xml-dev: A list for W3C XML Developers. To post, mailto:xml-dev at
Archived as: and on CD-ROM/ISBN 981-02-3594-1
To (un)subscribe, mailto:majordomo at the following message;
(un)subscribe xml-dev
To subscribe to the digests, mailto:majordomo at the following message;
subscribe xml-dev-digest
List coordinator, Henry Rzepa (mailto:rzepa at

More information about the Xml-dev mailing list