Son of XSL for non-programmers

Subject: Son of XSL for non-programmers
From: "Eric E. Cohen" <cybercpa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 31 May 1999 06:54:06 -0400
> Date: Sat, 29 May 1999 11:05:25 +0200 (CEST)
> From: Dieter Maurer <dieter@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Subject: Re: XSL for non-programmers

>  > I will echo this. I firmly believe you can teach almost anyone basic
XSL for
>  > displaying, sorting, and filtering XML files. I do not think the same
>  > true for VBA, VB, JScript, VBScript, Python, OmniMark, or

> If you focus on *basic* displaying, sorting and filtering XML files,
> I may, reluctantly, agree. If you allow to measure the difficulty
> to get familiar with the basics of the languages for things,
> they have been designed for, I disagree at least with respect to
> Python and JavaScript (I do not know the other sufficiently enough).

May I respectfully say that the *basic* displaying, sorting and filtering is
all that most business people want to do! 90% of customizations to
accounting software products are in simple reporting. When a business person
learns about the sort button and the filter button in Excel, they go nuts.
Add in anything under the data menu, and they are experts and gurus in their

> XSL has been specifically designed for XML processing and
> displaying. Thus, it would be a really bad thing, if
> elementary tasks in this area would be very difficult.

But the basics of setting up an XSL file to do these is extremely easy to
illustrate. And once the standard is settled, the tools will become
plentiful and more user friendly. The XML parsers will start to look like
Excel, and have filter and sort buttons, data grouping functionality, and
WYSIWYG formatting tools to create XSL with no knowledge whatsoever.

> Python, as an example, has been designed as a general purpose,
> modular, easy to use scripting language and not for XML processing.
> I think, it is very easy to learn the basics of the language,
> even for non-programmers. You can do XML processing as
> well (and even use XSL). Of cause, you will have some
> (learning and programming) overhead, if all you need
> is what is covered by XSL.

I will assume you are a programmer. I will assume that learning tools like
Python comes easy for you. I have Python 1.5 on my machine. It reminds me a
lot of learning Basic 15 years ago. And I know that 14 out of 15 business
people I know couldn't "get" Basic. Managers don't want to learn a
programming language. They want something simple to get their information.
And that means sorting, filtering, and displaying.

> On the other hand, the FO specification is quite difficult
> stuff for me, much more difficult than almost everything,
> I know from Python.

I can't disagree. But I don't find it pertinent to getting the basic tasks
managers want to get done. And my premise is that basic XSL can do 95% of
what your average business person wants to get done without needing to learn
programming. It is the anti-programmer's tool. It is the anti-database
administrator's tool.

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