[xsl] Future of XSL Stylesheet Writing?

Subject: [xsl] Future of XSL Stylesheet Writing?
From: "Steven Janoff" <Steven.Janoff@xxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2007 17:15:49 -0700

Newbie here, well-trained recently in the XSL arts, with a
career-related question.

Been in technical publishing and related fields long enough to see
several generations of publishing solutions where "hot" skills go cold
or cool.  E.g., TeX coding skills replaced by secretary using Word;
HTML/CSS hand-coding skills replaced by graphic designer using
Dreamweaver.  And so on.

Now I'm knee-deep in XSLT/XSL-FO stylesheet writing.  I've wondered how
long these skills would be "hot" before being replaced by
much-less-skilled workers using a WYSIWYG XSL editor to create
stylesheets, without knowledge of the underlying XSL code.  And I see
the recent announcement of the first such tool (or the first I've heard
of), primarily applied to visual FO development.

How many years do you think it will be before the skills celebrated on
this list -- writing XSLT/XSL-FO stylesheets the "old-fashioned" way,
understanding the code -- will be supplanted by the scenario described
above, as happened with the earlier tools?

Will these skills serve me for a number of years (5? 10?), or will I be
looking for the next suite of tools to learn in just a few years as
grandmothers around the world start creating PDFs in XSL-FO at the push
of a button?  That's an exaggeration, but you know what I mean.

I've written this post in at least 6 ways (some much longer, some
shorter), but the fundamental question is the same:  Will these skills
be bankable in 5 or 10 years?

Thanks for your honest assessment here.  No one on the list can be
expected to predict the future, but the vast wealth of background among
you suggests that an "educated guess" from this list is about as close a
prognostication as you can get to what will actually happen.


Steve Janoff
Information Manager, Specialty Engineering
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.
Tel. (858) 312-3255 (New number)
Fax (858) 312-4668 (New number)

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