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   Note from XSL WG on Extension Concerns

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  • From: "Steve Muench" <smuench@us.oracle.com>
  • To: "Pawson, David" <DPawson@rnib.org.uk>, "Edd Dumbill" <edd@usefulinc.com>, <leigh@xmlhack.com>
  • Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2000 01:18:58 -0700

Dave, Edd, Leigh, and other XSLT'ers,

In the last week or so, Dave Pawson, Edd Dumbill, Leigh Dodds, myself
and others have been involved in discussions on xml-dev and xsl-List
about the ways we can better guarantee portability of XSLT extension
implementations and simplify the lives of XSLT users by unifying the
namespaces of commonly-used extensions.

We wanted to let you know that the W3C XSL Working Group members --
including the implementors of XT, Saxon, LotusXSL/Xalan, MSXSL,
NovellXSL, and OracleXSL -- are aware of the issues. We are both
actively and cooperatively investigating the possible approaches we
can take in future releases of the XSLT specification to improve
things for users.

In the XSLT 1.0 recommendation we strove for a flexible mechanism to
*enable* extensions so the user community could help show us with
their own code the clever and useful ways that they want the
technology to go in the future. As evidenced by your concerns, it's
clear that the ability to easily write extensions has encouraged
innovation and been a spark-plug for great ideas. 

We have already had some discussion on the work involved and continue
to monitor user feedback on the topic from xsl-list. For example,
after our survey of existing XSLT processor implementations vis a vis
support for extensions, one data point that popped out was that every
Java-based XSLT Processor has implemented Java language extensions
*functions* in a fairly similar way (modulo namespaces). But for
extension elements and non-Java implementations of XSLT, the
similarities aren't so obvious.

Since we are currently in the process of having the group rechartered
for a post 1.0 effort, we cannot be more precise at the moment. 
However, we plan to proceed with the specifics of addressing
as many of the concerns as possible, in a "biggest-bang-for-the-buck"
priority order, as an important part of our new charter. Discussions
among XSLT users on these email lists regarding what are the most 
important problems to tackle first are clearly of value to us as
input to this process. 

Steve Muench, Lead XML Evangelist & Consulting Product Manager
Business Components for Java Dev't Team, Oracle Corporation
Primary Oracle Rep to the XSL Working Group

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