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Announce: XSLT Cookbook

The XSLT Cookbook is a new project based on a very successful experiment
that ActiveState and O'Reilly did called the Python Cookbook. The idea
of an online Cookbook is to get people to contribute "recipes" that
other people could then take and use in their programs. In the case of
the XSLT Cookbook, we are of course talking about XSLT snippets to be
used in stylesheets and transformations.


A Cookbook is not a FAQ because it only deals with snippets of code and
discussions around them. It doesn't talk about implementation issues or
deep language semantics or anything other than snippets of code. Unlike
a FAQ, a Cookbook is completely community run. The "editor" just cleans
up around the edges. People from the community submit recipes without
editor supervision and the community can add commentary, ratings and
alternatives. Using this buzzword-compliant distributed, peer-to-peer,
web-services strategy, the Python world has collected almost 200 recipes
and these recipes contribute to Python discussion lists and Python
culture. I hope the same will occur for XSLT. It really depends on
whether the community decides to use it or not.

Note that a Cookbook is also very different than a collection of code in
a library such as EXSLT or the XSLT Standard Library. The nice thing
about a library is that you directly plug in using import/include.
People who maintain these libraries often get submissions of code that
cannot really be turned into a straight-forward, reusable set of
templates because they are more *ideas* or *patterns* than concrete
reusable code. If you can package up some XSLT code as a library, great:
you should do that. A Cookbook is for the stuff that cannot be so nicely
packaged. XPath expressions are a perfect example. 

I've discussed this with Steve Ball of the XSLT Standard Library and he
sees the projects as complimentary. I certainly hope that some of the
recipes will build on the code libraries out there: "This recipe shows
how to use EXSLT to do X". Cookbook recipes can also be discussed in
comments and rated by end-users.

Right now the XSLT Cookbook is very small because the XSLT community has
not yet been invited to start building it. Consider this an invitation!
We need recipes in all categories and we may even add categories as we
get recipes (e.g. we'd love to fill in SVG and FO categories).

We are working hard to integrate the XSLT Cookbook with the next version
of our Komodo XML/XSLT/Python/Perl/PHP development environment. It will
soon be possible to submit and download cookbook recipes right from
within Komodo. When you combine the XSLT Cookbook with the free
educational license for Komodo you have a really excellent environment
for teaching or learning XSLT. In the longer term we will also add this
feature to our Visual XSLT environment, probably after Visual Studio.NET
Take a recipe. Leave a recipe.  
XSLT Cookbook!  http://aspn.activestate.com/ASPN/Cookbook/XSLT/