RE: asp assistance please

Subject: RE: asp assistance please
From: "Paulo Gaspar" <paulo.gaspar@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 7 Jul 2000 17:21:08 +0200
First I present my credentials on this issue:
- As some of you might have noticed, I have been using a lot of 
  Microsoft tools, including MSXML... with Borland's Delphi ISAPI 
  extensions. I also have a lot  experience with ASPs (argh!) IIS, 
  ADO, COM and many other Microsoft tools and technologies. 
- On the other hand, I have not been so noisy in this mailing list 
  during the last few weeks because I made the jump to Java/Oracle 
  stuff and I am going trough another technology absorption shock.

- This Delphi/MSXML/MS-stuff match is a symptom that I am not a 
  "Microsoft man" but that I have no complexes about using Microsoft 
- This jump to Java based technologies gives the practical knowledge 
  about why you, the Java guys, love it so much;
- And both things give me a clear notion of the problems that 
  Pawson's colleague could be facing.

There are 2 ways of facing this:
 1. Pawson's colleague fights servlets or JSPs;
 2. Pawson fights MSXML.

If the target is to make some long term work, I would advise the 1st
option because:
 - JSPs are quite similar to ASPs;
 - Even Servlets are quite easy and a bit familiar to a ASP 
   programmer, with its Response/Request parameters;
 - Enough Java to build simple servlets is not so hard to learn, 
   especially if he knows some JScript and if you have some Servlet
   templates or a Java tool with a wizard that produces them.
 - This only works on a long term basis because of the server itself.
   Configuring a sever for Java can take more time to learn than all 
   the rest. Even JRun 2 (that couples with IIS) is tricky to 
   configure, in my experience.

If the target is only to execute the "stylesheet sara.xsl to produce 
sara.html" using "a single parameter 'forms=true' or forms='false'",
than I am sure that the option 2 (Pawson fights MSXML) is the one
requiring less effort, since:
 - If Pawson's colleague is familiar with ASPs and the use of COM 
   objects, the programmatic aspects of calling MSXML are quite simple 
   and there is a lot of documentation and samples on how to do it, 
   both from Microsoft and 3rd party publications;

 - "MSXML Technology Preview - May 2000" is much closer to the 
   standards then previous releases - which eases Pawson's troubles
   when comparing with the initial MSXML edition.

Pros and cons of MSXML3 - May 2000:
- MSXML 3 May 2000 already implements hard misses from previous 
  editions like "xsl:import", "xsl:include" and a lot of XPath axis;
  (Although I am not sure if a couple of this axis aren't still 

- I think others (e.g. Michael Kay) might be better qualified to 
  talk about what features are missing for MSXML to meet the standard, 
  but I think that most issues should be easy to work around;

- The most limitative issue that I see being raised about MSXML is 
  that you can not reliably reference XML HTTP based sources when 
  using MSXML on a server application. (For me, this is its most 
  stupid limitation.) This limits including or importing XML trough 
  HTTP, but I think that you can still use server (e.g. ASP) generated 
  XML and transform it using local file stored XSL by using the "XSL 
  ISAPI Filter 2".

How to start using the thing:

 - I advise downloading the MSXML May 2000 edition. You can find the 
   link to its page from Microsoft's "XML Developer Centre" page:
   It is currently at the top right corner with a big picture;

- Download both the parser ("Download the May 2000 MSXML Technology 
  Preview Release (427 KB)") and its documentation ("Download the 
  latest MSXML Technology Preview SDK (1.1 MB)");
  (You will find this MSXML help quite easy to use and complete, 
  although not 100% complete (especially in samples) or exact.)

- Also check the Bug List page. You have a link for it in the same
  page where you have the above links;

- If you have Internet Explorer, check the (MS HTML format) help file 
  in the SDK for instructions on how to install MSXML3 in replace 
  mode. This will allow you to easily check XSL transformations using
  static files with IE and this version of MSXML;
  (Check "XML Developer's Guide"/"XML DOM User Guide"/"Running Msxml3 
  in Replace Mode".)

- Samples on programmatic use of MSXML can be found in Microsoft's 
  site but there are a lot of extra samples in:
  They have an XML topic page there.

- I think that the "XSL ISAPI Filter 2" could also prove interesting.
  Check the page also for this one.

The above stuff can help some one else going trough the MSXML dilemma.
(This is an excuse for writing so much!)

But to Pawson, I owe more than that. His FAQ helped me a lot on starting 
with XSL... and I am not the only one in this situation.

So, Mr. Pawson, feel free to mail me with further questions if you want.

Have fun,

Paulo Gaspar

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-xsl-list@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> [mailto:owner-xsl-list@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Pawson, David
> Sent: Friday, July 07, 2000 08:34
> To: 'xsl-list@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx'
> Subject: RE: asp assistance please
>   Personally I think that ASP/MSXML is
> >so much easier to use why would you bother with Saxon, but
> >I'm willing to admit it's a personal preference.
> Easier than what please??
> An off line judgement I made, which I'm willing to repeat.
> If Saxon doesn't do what you expect, chances are its wrong.
> If MS 'doesn't, my first reaction is 'what hasn't been implemented.
> that makes a difference to me, certainly today, and will do until
> MS declared compliance nearer to 100%.
> My 2 penneth, DaveP
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