Re: [xsl] applying templates to attribute value

Subject: Re: [xsl] applying templates to attribute value
From: Wendell Piez <wapiez@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 02 Jul 2008 11:52:08 -0400
At 12:30 AM 7/2/2008, Liam wrote:
We wanted XML to be implementable in 2 weeks by a grad student.
As opposed to taking an experienced full-time programmer a year,
which was (according to available evidence) closer to the mark for
a full SGML parser.  But the first implementations were in Java
and C rather than in Perl.

The DPH was the person in the documentation department tasked with
(say) changing every reference to part 2006 to part 2009 without
affecting dates... in, say, 100,000 documents of suitably marked-up
XML.  This was a real-life sort of example, and the point was that
we could not (then) assume XML support in text processing languages
such as Perl, so we had to make sure that non-XML-aware tools could
handle XML reliably....
I never took it to reflect on the programming ability of the Perl
programmer, though.

This is interesting as it reflects a set of assumptions grounded in the experience of the 1990s, when such people could and did have to implement solutions in markup-based systems without much benefit from off-the-shelf parsers and libraries.

Then, around 2000 (as XML was getting seriously underway), I remember an excited DPH of the classic variety (self-taught, smart, accomplished in CGI) saying to me with amazement and satisfaction that "XML means I'll never have to write another parser!"

That rather changed things ... bringing us to the present (and back on topic) when we have to explain that XSLT doesn't actually parse anything unless you write a parser in it.


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