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Re: [xsl] Haskell programmer's rant about xslt

Subject: Re: [xsl] Haskell programmer's rant about xslt
From: Wendell Piez <wapiez@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2012 10:56:20 -0400


On 4/16/2012 4:17 PM, Michael Kay wrote:
"The fact that you can't know what any single line of code does
without reviewing every other line in the program makes this language
an abomination. "

Yes, I suspect it's a complaint about precedence-based pattern matching;
a technique with a long history in text processing, all the way back to
Snobol, but one that makes some programmers uncomfortable because (as
with decision tables or logic programming) they can't always predict
what their own code will produce. Which is actually one of its

I agree. I was puzzled by this criticism. Surely it wasn't about the encapsulation of logic in templates, subroutines, or (gasp) functions. So is he unhappy about data-driven transformations? (Does he have a better idea for this class of problem?)

Jirka, I think, is also on the mark:
OP was probably upset by some badly designed XSLT code ha has to cope
with it.

Quite. If there were as many well-meaning but overhasty self-taught hackers writing Haskell as XSLT, there'd also be lots of bad Haskell around to complain about. But there aren't, so no one bothers to call it an "abomination" either. (Really, that word has no actual denotation at all in this context.)

Cheers, Wendell

Wendell Piez                            mailto:wapiez@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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