Re: [xsl] XSLT Hello World - outreach

Subject: Re: [xsl] XSLT Hello World - outreach
From: Richard Fozzard - NOAA Affiliate <richard.fozzard@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 28 Mar 2014 10:31:20 -0600
Graydon said the following on 03/27/2014 12:18 PM:
> I've never got anybody to believe XSLT was easy; I have got people to
> believe it was powerful, and I suspect the best way to evangelize for
> XSLT is along that axis. "Here are things we can do reliably that are
> much harder any other way".
Remarkably, I *have* gotten people to believe XSLT is easy -- and those have almost always been people who are not traditional programmers!

Of course, these folks aren't doing complex transformations. But they are people, who for one reason or another, have been given XML to deal with, and just want to produce a nice HTML page or convert to a different XML format. I've shown these folks just three elements, wrapped in a single <xsl:template match="/">:

1. xsl:value-of
2. xsl:choose
3. xsl:for-each

and only enough XPath to understand something like "//book[@author='Bob']".

This is not "Hello World" -- which I have always considered a useless exercise for anything other than testing a compile/build environment. But it is what I call an 80-20 solution: 80% of what you want, for 20% of the effort.

The people I've shown this to have done a lot of great things with just these three elements, and some have gone on to learn a lot more of XSLT. Funny that the non-programmers have been easier to convert than the hot-shot hackers. ;-)



Richard Fozzard, Computer Scientist
  Geospatial Metadata at NGDC:

Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)
Univ. Colorado & NOAA National Geophysical Data Center, Enterprise Data Systems 
325 S. Broadway, Skaggs 1B-305, Boulder, CO 80305
Office: 303-497-6487, Cell: 303-579-5615, Email: richard.fozzard@xxxxxxxx

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