Re: Son of XSL for non-programmers

Subject: Re: Son of XSL for non-programmers
From: "Eric E. Cohen" <cybercpa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 1 Jun 1999 08:09:39 -0400
How do we _prove_ that XSL is viable and can be easier to learn than DOM or
other programmatic approaches for basic business tasks like sorting,
filtering and reporting - for non-programmers?

If we ignore the number of people who have already responded and stated the
very reason they subscribe to xsl-list because they have found xsl to be
usable (it is viable) ...

and if we ignore the testimony of the non-programmers who found XSL usable
... (like me)

perhaps it comes down to double-blind tests at upcoming XML conferences or
some other gathering where we find our target audience. You take 20 managers
and teach them how to do sorting, filtering and displaying in VBScript,
Jscript, Java, OmniMark, Python or another tool of your choice - I'll do the
same with XSL. After 90 minutes, we will see which group feels they can
better do their work.

Who makes up this class of non-programmers? Web designers? Business
managers? Database administrators and systems analysts? My target audience
is CPAs and financial analysts. That's who I coach and equip in technology.
Readers of a newsletter I write, the CPA Internet Connection, are getting a
tutorial in XML and XSL - because they can benefit from XML as a tool for
financial and business data transfer and analysis.

My CPAs are not going to be installing Sax and XT. They won't have a clue
how to use Java-based tools. They think their last class was Finance 293. If
it isn't pure consumer, forget it. This audience has no problem, in general,
embracing standard Microsoft tools and technologies, like IE5 - and the site has lots of materials. XSL requires no altering
of environments, no setting up of classes - it takes an ASCII editor and a
little mentoring. Thanks to G. Ken Holman for his listing of resources - my
listing at is another, albeit weak,
resource aimed at financial types.

> If I may interject into the thread I would not only like to agree with the
> premise I would like to prove it correct. Where might 'almost anyone'
> acquire such 'teaching'? Where are the learning materials? The examples?
> Models? Illustrations?

As I have asked before - I have found and Ken has noted lots of XSL
resources, although you have to be careful as the materials may not be
current. Microsoft's XSL resources start at But - where are
the tools for non-programmers to easily use programmatic methods? How can a
non-programmer even begin to read through and have a clue what to do

How does a non-programmer begin when given these instructions for using XML
and Python?

"I give a short overview of the Simple API for XML (SAX). I describe how a
SAX-compliant parser and a SAX application interact, and how one should
proceed to write a SAX application. The description focuses on the Python
implementation of SAX. The examples are written in Python.


Write DocumentHandler, DTDHandler, EntityResolver, and ErrorHandler classes.
Select a SAX-compliant parser. E.g.,
Register the handlers with the parser. E.g.,
Run the parser by calling its parse method. E.g.,
Watch the result, which is completely determined by the handlers of your

<ec />

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