Re: [xsl] Things that make you go Hmmmm!

Subject: Re: [xsl] Things that make you go Hmmmm!
From: Ihe Onwuka <ihe.onwuka@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 29 Mar 2014 15:41:44 +0000
Essentially we disagree (respectfully I'm glad) on how to keep it simple .

The syntactical minimalism, brevity of language specification and
power of functional languages derives IMHO from the extensive
application of orthogonality.

I think your way gives the programmer more things to remember and my
way gives the programmer more things to figure out. I think the latter
is the more apposite use of human attributes.

On Sat, Mar 29, 2014 at 3:30 PM, Abel Braaksma (Exselt) <abel@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> On 29-3-2014 16:13, Ihe Onwuka wrote:
>> Up to the language designer whether they want to issue a warning about
>> parameters are ignored. Up to the programmer to investigate if he
>> doesn't get back what he expected - that is an inherent part of the
>> discipline of programming.
> I have to say that I am very glad that we have little or no properties
> of instructions that are meaningless and that do nothing more than
> showing a warning. If a language would have such instructions, I think
> it would be very hard to work practically with such a language, as you
> would constantly have to look up the manual or spec to find the
> situations where a certain attribute is meaningless and when it is not.
> That said, even in XSLT there are quite some situations where you can do
> something meaningless. For instance, you can set a default collation for
> your entire stylesheet, but never use any function or instruction that
> actually uses collations. Most likely, you do not even get a warning.
> Likewise, you can do <xsl:apply-templates select="/ancestor::foo" />. A
> processor might issue a warning about this, but doesn't have to. Maybe
> you intentionally selected nothing.
> Similarly, we often get questions about intermittent and unexpected
> output of text. Usually the result of applying templates without a
> matching template. Again, a processor might warn about this, but usually
> does not, because it is the default behavior (arguably one of the most
> debated ones). Indeed, it is up to the programmer to investigate this,
> but it is also up to the language designer to make meaningful
> constructs. If a construct never ever does anything, it has no place in
> the language, or in any language for that matter. Luckily, I find that
> with the plethora of languages I have had the pleasure to work with,
> that most languages do not provide such meaningless constructs.
> Of course, we can agree to disagree here, but my point is simple: keep
> it simple and don't add stuff that serves no purpose and (might) only
> confuse users. If that sacrifices orthogonality, so be it. It is an
> important concept, but not at the cost of usability and applicability.
> Cheers,
> Abel Braaksma
> Exselt XSLT 3.0 processor

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