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Re: [xsl] when to use xslt

Subject: Re: [xsl] when to use xslt
From: Henning Waack <henning.waack@xxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2005 17:58:38 +0100

Hello all.

First, thanks for your answers and input, it was interesting reading your opinion about this topic. Since I've been away for the whole day and thus couldn't participate in the discussion, I would like to sum up what has been said so far.

So, one general advice was, to use XSLT whenever one needs to transform XML trees to some other XML trees. And why? Well, it seems because languages like XSLT have been develop for this exact reason, so no need to invent the wheel again. But Mark made the distinction, that it is not useful to use XSLT for rather complex computations, in his example calculating prime numbers. Though as a contrast, Dimitre posted an example, where XSLT is used for a rather complex computation, which runs fast and successful. So the question whether XSLT should be used for mathematical problems or stuff like this is not fully clear yet. (For me, at least :))
Fittingly, Michael emphasized in his post, that the argument, XSLT is slow, is not accurate for straightforward transformations any more, often the time for parsing the input and serializing the output is neglected. But complex transformations could probably be faster when implemented in other languages, the point is: how long does the implementation take? All in all Michael stated, that it is very important to implement a solution in a language one knows quite well, thus saving a lot of time and hopefully creating a sound and correct program. Only when the usage is for a longer period, it is worth learning a different language to profit from its advantages.
Concrete, the advantages of XSLT are, according to Michael, a shorter code for most transformations than in alternative languages, the code is faster implemented and easier to maintain, especially when the source schema changes.

So, after reading all this and from my very small own knowledge, it seems that XSLT should be used in most cases when XML transformations are needed. I think that XSLT will get even "more usable" when the 2.0 version is officially launched, thinking about features like advanced string handling, grouping, multiple-output documents, user-defined functions, temporary trees, etc.

If anyone would like to add some disadvantages or advantages of XSLT against other languages, please do so, I am glad for every hint I can get. (I am writing a paper for university, btw)

Thanks again for your help,

have a nice weekend,



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