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Re: [xsl] XSLT Hello World - outreach


Subject: Re: [xsl] XSLT Hello World - outreach
From: David Rudel <fwqhgads@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 27 Mar 2014 22:27:23 +0100

On Thu, Mar 27, 2014 at 7:18 PM, Graydon <graydon@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> People with solid coding skills from other
> domains try to use XSLT and wind up in the special hell that is trying
> to make XSLT do anything imperative.  It builds up a reservoir of
> loathing.
>

Hmmm.., I think I have to disagree with this. In fact, I use XSLT
primarily in an imperative manner. I think XSLT 2.0 and higher has
plenty support for imperative scripts. I wouldn't try to advocate for
huge imperative projects to be coded in it, but for short scripts I
think it works fine in the imperative mood.

It might be worth explaining where I am coming from, for I don't
generally use XSLT for "translations" as such. I'm a data
analyst/mathematical modeler who designs AI for an education software
company. I have complex, structured data that I need to aggregate,
analyze, and use for rapid-prototyping and testing of mathematical
models and simulations. I want the full power of modern Xpath, I need
more features than XQuery, so that pretty much means XSLT is my only
option. (Using Saxon's Java API would be an option, but I don't like
Java....)

In my mind it would be better to stop calling XSLT a "special purpose"
language, and instead cast it as "A general purpose programming
language for working with XML." Perhaps "general purpose" is too
generous... but the point is that as a language is allows you to do
much more than simply transform XML. The scope of things you can do
with XSLT without a lot of grief is certainly larger than, say, with
SQL.

I have to imagine there are many, many people who work with XML in
ways that have nothing to do with transformations (as generally
understood) and could really make their own lives easier by learning
XSLT. If XSLT were presented as "_The_ way to work with XML data," it
might appeal to a larger group of people.

-David

-- 

"A false conclusion, once arrived at and widely accepted is not
dislodged easily, and the less it is understood, the more tenaciously
it is held." - Cantor's Law of Preservation of Ignorance.


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