Re: Language is not markup and markup is not language.

Subject: Re: Language is not markup and markup is not language.
From: Paul Prescod <paul@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 05:59:27 -0500
David LeBlanc wrote:
> I received a private post from someone asserting that xslt's language seems
> to have it's roots in "tree transformation languages". Seems to me that
> most general purpose languages are pretty adept at tree manipulations - and
> a host of other useful things as well.

If you try to convert a complex XSL stylesheet to a language like Java you
will need an extremely sophisticated XML processing library to get the
convenience of XSL's template application and querying capabilities. If
you want, I can send you a couple of XSL stylesheets for you to have a go

The only programming languages that I know of that are rough as easy to
use for text processing are proprietary, expensive and designed for text
processing from the ground up. 

Most of XSL's complexity is in its query language and XML needs a query
language anyhow. In a perfect world, the query language would have been
developed first and separately and we would be marvelling at how easy XSL
is -- once you are familiar with XML queries.

I maintain hope that Python will have an appropriate library soon but
learning Python *and* the XSL-ish library will still be a bigger task than
learning XSL alone because Python would still depend on the XML query
language. Also the Python syntax will not be as optimized for template
application and invocation.

The traffic in the XSL list is proof alone that people are using it to do
real work -- even though scripting languages exist. The market has already

 Paul Prescod  - ISOGEN Consulting Engineer speaking for only himself

The first three Noble Truths of Python:
  All that is not Python is suffering.
  The origin of suffering lies in the use of not-Python.
  The cessation of suffering can be achieved by not using not-Python.

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