RE: [xsl] XSL : how to turn <name> into <data elem="name">

Subject: RE: [xsl] XSL : how to turn <name> into <data elem="name">
From: Peter Flynn <peter@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 9 Feb 2001 23:57:14 +2400
At Thursday, 8 February 2001, Dave Pawson wrote:

>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Michael Kay [mailto:mhkay@xxxxxxxxxxxx]
>> But I am slowly coming to the conclusion that XSLT has a particular
>> attraction to those who enjoy typing for its own sake.
>Wasnt' that one of the design goals of xml, from Tim Bray,
>It must be readable, even if its verbose ;-)

Certainly was: "terseness is of minimal importance". We had 
some fun with that but I think the expectations were that:

a) bandwidth advances and cheap disk space would mean 
that there would be no need to worry about long element 
type names "taking up space";

b) the use of syntax-directed editors would mean authors 
would never actually need to type or read raw XML markup, 
only their text data content: everything else you pull down
from a menu or pop up from a keyclick;

c) there would be no need for the kind of shorthand and
abbreviations that were built into SGML to reduce the 
number of keystrokes.

So how for have we got? Bear in mind we are talking about
an aspect of the usability of XML (and thus XSL too: see
my query and Mike Kay's recently about typing).

a) We have cheap disk space, at least in Europe and N.
America. 20Gb is standard on most new desktop machines. 
Someone said Fry's have a 72Gb drive for $250. But lack 
of bandwidth is still a big problem in a lot of places: I have
reports even of N. American (mid-west) users who cannot
get anything more than 56Kb/s dialup. And in other places
it can be ridiculously expensive.

b) As I said last week, I'm still amazed at the number of users
laboriously typing XSL and other XML character by shining
character into NotePad or vi. I downloaded the current 
version of a popular XML development tool recently, which
claimed to do XSL as well as XML and DTDs. Its XSL
interface was a plaintext edit window with zero tools apart
from syntactic colorization. Either the community consists
of latent masochists or the software vendors have not been
consulting their usability people. And I've seen developers 
using element type names up to 100 characters long and 
over <aDiseaseCaughtFromProlongedExposureToJava>, 
and happily typing them by hand :-)

c) 'nuff said. I wish we'd kept </> for "close the currently
open element" just to make the code easier to read for
humans. And name groups in element types in element
declarations, especially when parameterized. Maybe.

So I guess verbosity really doesn't matter. Unless you're
a manager looking at improving the productivity of your
development or editorial team.


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