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Re: [xsl] xsl compact syntax using xquery

Subject: Re: [xsl] xsl compact syntax using xquery
From: Michael Kay <mike@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 2014 16:17:44 +0100

It's worth reminding people of the benefits of using an XML-based syntax
(which is not to deny that there are drawbacks too):

* you only have one syntax to remember, not two

* editing tools are reusable (I like the fact that CMD+E in oXygen works the
same way for XML and for XSLT)

* stylesheets can be created and transformed using other stylesheets (and
other XML tooling, even XQuery)

* fill-in-the-blanks coding: the stylesheet looks like the output it is

* syntactic extensibility: users, vendors, and the WGs find it easy to add
syntactic extensions without breaking anything or creating ambiguities

Anyone who has watched the Query WG struggle with how to add innocuous
features to the language without breaking the parser will appreciate the last
of these.

Historically, of course, the decision was made because of a widespread
consensus that DSSSL failed because it used an unfamiliar syntax that was
radically different from the instance document syntax.

Michael Kay

On 3 Apr 2014, at 16:00, Wendell Piez <wapiez@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Mike S,
> On Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 9:49 PM, Michael Sokolov
> <msokolov@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>>> I like to tell dot-and-curly-brace fans that XSLT syntax ends up as a
>>> kind of "syntax coloring" for experienced users. We don't read the
>>> tags any more: we can tell what's happening from scanning the match
>>> patterns, select expressions, LREs, modes and a few other things; and
>>> it turns out the verbosity of the XSLT tag set is weirdly conducive to
>>> this kind of "in your head" compiling. Indeed, this verbosity may be
>>> more apparent than real, since while XSLT claims screen space, the
>>> list of possible elements in XSLT is actually quite short -- with the
>>> result that for an experienced user, @match, @select and LREs really
>>> jump out.
>> I hear you, but it sounds to me like a post-hoc justification.  I really
>> think I prefer the coloring to be stronger: I'd like the LRE's to look
>> XML and the rest to look like *code*.
> Understood; nor do I mind XQuery or other syntax that takes this approach.
> I also understand why you (or anyone) may take this remark as post-hoc
> justification. However, it's not *intended* that way (at least if I am
> in a position to judge my own intentions) so much as an observation
> bearing on why XSLT's XML syntax doesn't bother some of us as much as
> others might think it should.
> Cheers, Wendell
> --
> Wendell Piez | http://www.wendellpiez.com
> XML | XSLT | electronic publishing
> Eat Your Vegetables
> _____oo_________o_o___ooooo____ooooooo_^

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