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> From: Dare Obasanjo [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> 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?
Why does the solution need to be standards-based? The solution should have
been chosen based on what fits the problem at hand, not based on some
pre-ordained mandate that the solution must be 100% standards-compliant
XSLT. The point of an XSLT standard is to ensure compatibility between
different vendors XSLT engines, not to ensure that XSLT can be used as a
solution for any problem that somehow involves XML in some capacity.
> 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.
LaTeX is not XML, and working with LaTeX does not qualify as "working with
XML". Quite apart from that, I would strongly prefer not to see the W3C
expand its charter to include developing standards for general purpose text
processing -- and this was a problem of general-purpose text processing, not
simply XML processing.
> 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.
I think there is quite a bit of work going on in this regard. Not all of it
is happening at the W3C, though. Nor should it. There is a great deal of
criticism of the W3C, these days, because of the many specs it is producing
-- and the growing complexity of those specs. Yet there is also a great deal
of criticism every time someone discovers that the W3C has left some stone
unturned, or has failed to create a spec to address some particular niche
need. This latter problem is ultimately what is causing the former problem.
People are expecting too much from the W3C, and looking to it to legitimize
everything they ever want to do with XML. I'm just waiting for that bubble
to burst, and wondering how much damage will be done along the way until it
No standards committee is going to be a leader in innovation. The innovation
will come from other corners -- from those in the trenches who need
particular tools, so they invent them. And no such innovation is going to
happen from someone who insists they will adopt no solution that has not
been sanctioned in advance by the W3C.
When particular approaches or technologies prove themselves in practice, and
prove themselves to be sufficiently general in applicability, then they
should be standardized to ensure interoperability between different vendors
offerings. We shouldn't be looking to standards to drive innovation, or to
solve every problem we will ever encounter in our careers.