Questioning XSL

Paul Prescod paul at
Fri May 21 20:45:55 BST 1999

[I think that's forums are not quite working right yet]

David Megginson wrote:
> clarification please

Well, I should be careful here because the other camp is very amorphous.
But I will say that I have observed on many occasions someone coming into
the XSL mailing list saying: "I already do all of this junk in my favorite
programming language? Don't you people know that there is nothing to
invent here?" The first recorded example was an editorial by Dan Schafer
on "":

Typically they either never get around to becoming expert at XSL (as seems
to be the case with Michael Leventhal) or they change their minds once
they do (as with Mike Kay).

> But now we have all kinds of proposals proliferating at places
> like the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), including such
> wrong-headed ideas as Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL).
> This concept, which tries to take the XML idea of data
> description into the realm of display description, creates
> situations where we have to somehow associate an XML file
> with an XSL file. The mechanism for this association is almost
> certainly going to be JavaScript. So why not just eliminate the
> middleware and have JavaScript talk directly to XML through
> the DOM to tell a document how to display its contents? Seems
> a lot simpler and more direct to me.

I haven't yet seen anyone who seemed really knowledgable about XSL turn
around and say: "you know what, this isn't buying much, I'll go back to
Python/Perl/XYZ." There are various reasons to use XYZ over XSL but I'm
talking about *abandoning* XSL for XYZ.

There may be counter-examples and it would be interesting to hear about

Abandoning a language you know well is not so rare. Most Python users are
refugees from other languages that seemed perfect for a while (Perl,
Scheme, Smalltalk) but got less perfect as they became expert at it.

 Paul Prescod  - ISOGEN Consulting Engineer speaking for only himself

Alabama's constitution is 100 years old, 300 pages long and has more than
600 amendments. Highlights include "Amendment 393: Amendment of Amendment
No.  351", "Validation of Laws Regulating Court Costs in Randolph County",
"Miscegenation laws", "Bingo Games in Russell County", "Suppression
of dueling".  -

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