Re: A would-be user's first XSL experience (long)

Subject: Re: A would-be user's first XSL experience (long)
From: Paul Prescod <paul@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 01 Jun 1999 23:56:34 -0500
Todd Fahrner wrote:
> I certainly agree. And I'm hearing from you that I must compile and
> use a command line program to "get started" with this language
> designed (among other things) to appeal to non-programmers. Is my
> point so obscure?

At this point in XSL's development? Yes. If you want a GUI then you may
have to lag behind the latest and greatest specs.

> Sure. Just be aware that for every potential user who is comfortable
> with compiling and using console apps, there are easily dozens - if
> not hundreds or thousands - of civilians who aren't. With XSL under
> attack as difficult - by programmers no less - this appears to me to
> be a major liability.

I don't think that Michael Leventhal is very concerned about the *user
interface* of *pre-beta* tools for an undeveloped specification.

> I'm not talking about encouraging this as a production vehicle, but
> as a learning tool, a free sample, a test drive. It's good marketing.
> People who have a "successful" experience with the toy front end will
> be motivated to dust off their programmer hats (or find a programmer)
> to integrate the stuff into their production environments for real
> work.

I have no problem with making such a toy front end. But you are promoting
it as the feature that will Save XSL. It is not. It is just a useful tool
that it is nice to have available.

> Would you prefer that everybody who's less comfortable than I am with
> programmer's tools uses IE5 as a "reference" GUI for (MS)XSL? That's
> what will happen if more zealously conformant software is not made
> equally accessible.

IE5 is a fine way to get the general feel for a few-months old iteration
of XSL.

> I'll bet that the folk could be persuaded to add such as a
> complement to their simple "RUWF" toy:
> . I suppose you
> don't agree that that was worth the development effort either?

I didn't say that your toy (your word) would not be worth the development
effort. I even volunteered to help develop it. I claimed, rather, that it
doesn't address any serious usability issue *with XSL* that will affect
XSL's accessibility or popularity *once deployed*. If XSL goes to REC for
six months and there are no good user interfaces for it then that would be
the appropriate time to decry the terrible usability of XSL user

Anyhow, RUWF and an XSL runner are very different beasts. The latter can
cause infinite loops which tend to take a long time to complete even on
very fast machines. If you get a few novices using the back button and
resubmitting an infinitely-looping script over and over again you can
easily suck up a bunch of your server capacity -- even if you put limits
on it.

The better way to do this is with Java on the client side with a "stop"
button. As I said before, if someone wants to donate the browser-portable
Javascript code for talking to Java applets then I'll be glad to write the
small wrapper class that turns XT into an applet.
 Paul Prescod  - ISOGEN Consulting Engineer speaking for only himself

"Silence," wrote Melville, "is the only Voice of God." The assertion,
like its subject, cuts both ways, negating and affirming, implying both
absence and presence, offering us a choice; it's a line that the Society
of American Atheists could put on its letterhead and the Society of
Friends could silently endorse while waiting to be moved by the spirit
to speak. - Listening for Silence by Mark Slouka, Apr. 1999, Harper's

 XSL-List info and archive:

Current Thread