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RE: Application Design

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Sean McGrath [mailto:sean.mcgrath@propylon.com]
> Sent: Saturday, August 11, 2001 9:17 AM
> To: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
> Subject: RE: Application Design
> If only the world were so simple!

So, let's make it that simple :~)  Maybe XSLT isn't what we really need, but
maybe there's a subset of XSLT that hits the 80/20 point, or maybe there's a
more elegant alternative that does what we hoped XSLT would do.

> XSLT is an example of a 20/80 point technology:-) 

For what it's worth, I'm predisposed to consider XSLT (along with "common"
XML 1.0, DOM, and XPath) as part of the solid core of XML technologies that
really more or less do what they are advertised to do and have a real track
record of success. 

I suspect that XSLT is indeed a "20/80 point technology" if you have to use
it as a programming language, to access non-XML data via extensions, and
generally explore the dark corners of the spec. My experience (admittedly
with simple applications) is that there is a straightforward "Common XSLT"
functionality in there that does hit the 80/20 point for reformatting XML
into a conceptually similar but syntactically different XML or simple HTML
format.  (Has anyone tried to write up a "Common XSLT" usage guideline?) And
as Michael Rys pointed out, as XSLT gets embedded deep into OS or DB or
server architectures, we start to see some serious performance improvements
over procedural ASP/JSP/CGI/etc. alternatives.  See my response to Al Snell
... I've over-used the "worse is better" cliche lately, so how about "God is
on the side with the strongest battalion" ... XSLT has a lot of troops in
this fight (most notably the folks at Microsoft), and time may be on its
side even if technical elegance is not.

I'd be very interested in hearing from people who have tried to implement
more complex XSLT applications. When does XSLT generally hit the wall?  Is
there an alternative (given than you have XML data as the input) other than
just writing code? (For example, does anyone other than Al Snell find PHP
templates to be a more powerful, easier to use alternative?) How do people
feel about XQuery's output reformatting capabilities as an 80/20 point for
real-world web applications?

I'm playing the unusual role (for me) of being the XML cheerleader in this
thread partly to figure out what "best practice" really is in this area.  I
wouldn't be crushed to find out that XSLT doesn't really belong in the
"solid core of XML," but would like to see us share experiences about what
people have done with it, or failed to do with it, in practice.