[xsl] XSLT/XPath 2.0 (was "Identifying two tags...")

Subject: [xsl] XSLT/XPath 2.0 (was "Identifying two tags...")
From: "Evan Lenz" <evan@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 6 May 2002 10:59:33 -0700
Zack Brown wrote:
> Wow, a very simple solution! I think I won't use it right away,
> because I want
> to use only tools that are readily available on most Linux distributions,
> in case other folks want to experiment with my stylesheets. I've
> been using
> xsltproc so far, and that seems to handle everything I've tried
> to use. But
> I'll save this recipe for when 2.0 comes out, or when Debian
> packages start
> supporting the draft.

That's a reasonable choice. Saxon 7 is a great test bed for experimentation
and learning, as well as a tool that can be used for one-time
transformations. But, like I said, XSLT 2.0 is not yet ready for prime time.

> Is there a general consensus that XPath and XSLT are moving in the right
> direction, or will future standards lay waste to what I consider to be a
> very elegant system?

I'm not sure whether there is a particular consensus on this list. I think
there are a number of welcome features that people have been asking for for
some time in XSLT 2.0, such as the elimination of the result tree fragment
type, built-in support for grouping, support for multiple output documents,
user-defined functions in XSLT, etc. But I think it's also pretty clear that
XPath 2.0 has gone well beyond what most users (at least on this list) have
been asking for. This is the natural result when two working groups get
together and try to meet both of their requirements in a single common
language. I am generally pretty happy with the progression of the language,
how backward-compatible it is, and how much power it brings to users, as
demonstrated by the solution to your problem. In any case, I don't see XSLT
1.0 dying off any time real soon.

Some people are concerned about the sheer number of functions and operators
in XPath 2.0 (almost five times as many as in 1.0). A related issue is XPath
2.0's heavy dependence on XML Schemas. I personally share some of these
concerns. The real test of the specification's success is the number and
quality of implementations. Saxon 7 is a good pioneer. It would be great
(even crucial) to see more efforts sprout up before we approach
Recommendation status.

There are also some widely-requested features slated for inclusion but yet
to be published, such as support for regular expressions (an XPath 2.0
requirement). There also remains a good chunk of work to do on XSLT 2.0's
support for the construction of XML Schema-typed content.

I wrote a couple basic introductions[1-2] to XPath 2.0 and XSLT 2.0 on
XML.com, if you're interested.

(speaking only for himself, not for the XSL WG)

[1] http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2002/03/20/xpath2.html
[2] http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2002/04/10/xslt2.html

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