Re: XSL controversy

Subject: Re: XSL controversy
From: James Clark <jjc@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 08 Aug 1999 11:01:10 +0700
>   With DOM, you can do anything that a programming language
> let's you do with a tree structure, so there probably exists 'funky'
> transformations that will break the teeth of an XSL'er, but
> I think that they are only of academic interrest

I don't agree with this at all.

There are many, real-world transformation problems for which XSLT is not
the right tool.  I would never claim that XSLT is the one true
transformation language for XML.  Whether it's a good choice for a
particular transformation problem depends on a number of factors,
including the following.

- XSLT is better at down translations that up translations; if your
transformation is going from a less-structured form to a more-structured
form, XSLT may not be a good choice

- XSLT is better at transformations on structure than transformations on
content; if your transformation is doing complex transformations on the
text content of the document, XSLT may not be a good choice

- XSLT is very tree-oriented; if the structure in the input or output
document is not reflected in the XML tree structure, then XSLT may not
be good choice (this can happen with XML documents that encode data
structures that are graphs rather than trees)

XSLT is powerful enough that you can push it to perform transformations
for which a conventional programming language would be a much better
tool.  I would strongly encourage the XSL community *not* to do this.  A
key part of educating people about XSLT should be to educate them about
when to use it and when not to use it.


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