Subject: Re: [xsl] XSLT and Golden Hammers ...|
From: Gunther Schadow <gunther@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2002 18:34:04 -0500
>> What's wrong with doing it in XSLT? > > See Mike Kay's post: if your DB access causes side effects, you > are in trouble.
Well, Michael didn't say "causes trouble." In fact, there are many ways of getting around the problem. Some more elegant than others. That Michael must be a pragmatist shows in his xsl:variable/@saxon:assignable extension :-).
What I was looking for wasn't so much a lament over how hard it is and that I want imperative program logic in XSLT, I was looking for interesting ways of getting side effects married to XSLT. Philip Wadler uses the metaphor of the mind-body problem. I love XSLT because it enables me to do so much more in so little amount of programming that I like to push the envelope a little.
Just because people like a language and want to use it a lot, doesn't mean it's a Golden Hammer. Java isn't, or is it? I find the notion of transforming information a very powerful approach to many problems that don't have anything to do with users looking documents.
In order for making this Golden Hammer argument, you'd have to show that there is something intrinsicly constraining or inadequate about using the XSLT approach for whatever I am doing. Certainly a functional language isn't inadequate for many things, and *managing* side-effects (not willy-nilly sneaking in unsafe side-effects) is an interesting challenge.
> XSLT has its > strenghts but also weaknesses. I wouldn't write a C compiler > or orbital calculations with XSLT.
What do you suppose are the "weaknesses" of XSLT that you mention that would make XSLT inadequate for, say, a database querying web service application? Writing a C-compiler in XSLT? Not too bad of a thought either, if C was expressed as XSLT. A compiler is a very nice example for an application that essentially is a transform. Orbital calculations? Well, what you might do with an SVG presentation layer could come pretty close to that.
-- Gunther Schadow, M.D., Ph.D. gschadow@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Medical Information Scientist Regenstrief Institute for Health Care Adjunct Assistant Professor Indiana University School of Medicine tel:1(317)630-7960 http://aurora.regenstrief.org