[xsl] Rescuing XSLT from Niche Status

Subject: [xsl] Rescuing XSLT from Niche Status
From: "Roger L. Costello" <costello@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2001 15:18:59 -0500
Hi Folks,

A colleague of mine has written an excellent paper describing a new way
of looking at creating XSLT documents.  I think that you will find the
paper very thought provoking.  He has kindly permitted me to post it on
my Web site:


Here are a few snippets from the paper:

"XSLT is one of the most exciting technologies to come out of the XML
family. Unfortunately, its incredible power and associated complexity
can be overwhelming to new users preventing many from experimenting with
it or causing them to quickly give up in disgust. In fact, unless the
method of teaching and the common style of use for XSLT is radically
changed to make it more accessible, XSLT will be relegated to niche


"Traditionally XSLT has been presented as a programming language for
translating XML documents into another format, often for presentation.
This frames the problem, such that for each element, the programmer has
the task of figuring out how that element needs to be translated. As
long as there are one to one mappings or one to zero mappings this is
straightforward ... However when adding one to many mappings (i.e. when
an element?s contents will appear multiple times in the target document
with different formatting), keeping track of all the relationships
quickly grows in complexity and becomes confusing."


"The solution is to reframe the problem ..." (well, I don't want to give
away the solution, so I will stop here and let you read the article)

As a testimony to the effectiveness of using this approach, after
reading the article I became such a believer in it that I reworked my
entire XSLT Tutorial[1] using this new approach.  This past week I
taught a three day course on XSLT using the new approach.  I found that
with the new approach the students learned the material about 50% faster
than previous classes, where I used the classical approach to viewing
XSLT document creation.  /Roger

[1] http://www.xfront.com

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