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   Re: [xml-dev] Re: XML and Complex Systems (was Re: [xml-dev] Re: An Ar

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----- Original Message -----
From: "Elliotte Rusty Harold" <elharo@metalab.unc.edu>
To: "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <clbullar@ingr.com>; "'Sean McGrath'"
<sean.mcgrath@propylon.com>; "Mike Champion" <mc@xegesis.org>;
Sent: Monday, January 14, 2002 11:22 AM
Subject: RE: [xml-dev] Re: XML and Complex Systems (was Re: [xml-dev] Re: An
Architecture for Limericks)

> Much more important is that his test case is:
> XML documents contain (among other things) text phrases that must be
> converted into equivalent LaTeX phrases. Some text phrases, such as
> "&" and "$" have special meaning to LaTeX and thus must be escaped
> during processing. Others represent text idioms like "(C)" that must
> be mapped to their LaTeX equivalents ("\copyright{}").
> In other words he wants to do string manipulations on unmarked up
> text. Furthermore, his output format is not XML, but LaTeX. Moertl is
> taking XSLT and using it to do exactly what it was designed not to
> do. He is completely confused about what the intended purpose of XSLT
> actually is. It was never intended to do what he wants it to do. It
> shouldn't be a surprise he has trouble. Nor should this be considered
> a knock on XSLT, since none of his use cases are something XSLT was
> ever intended to handle.

Fine, so you state that his task is not what XSLT was designed for but what
would you suggest he should have used instead to perform this task in a
standards compliant manner? As Paul T mentioned earlier, DOM and SAX are too
low level for such a task which leaves XSLT or simple treating the XML file as
plain text and parsing it with Perl or some other scripting language.

One of the problems I think this highlights is that there is a growing
disconnect from how the W3C wants XML to be used and how people use XML and
want to use it. Creating XML content that can be transformed to other formats
as needed is one of the advantages of using it in a business environment that
I constantly hear touted, yet it doesn't seem like enough work is being put
into developing technologies and tools that are aimed at making it easier to
manipulate XML when dealing with non-trivial problems. (Again, I'd like to
praise everyone involved in adding XPath support to DOM in any way, shape or

As more and more people start working with XML and need to process it, the
deficiency of the current technologies used for XML manipulation will be
highlighted. The question is whether we will take it as a challenge to make it
easier for people to process and manipulate XML or whether we'll retreat into
the "XML/XSLT/DOM/SAX/foo/whatever was not meant to be used in that manner"
shell which serves to maintaion the status quo.

My Legions of Terror will have helmets with clear plexiglass visors, not
face-concealing ones.

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