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this is a very interesting observation of yours michael. it harks back
to the early days of 3gl programming and the introduction of recursive
algorithms to languages like algol/pascal/c. programmers then (and
probably now) have difficulty with recursion. i'm sure if you take any
set of programs and anlayse them for recursive opportunities you will
find they exist but hardly ever exploited.
xslt is by definition a recursive style of programming which will appeal
to a small group of disturbed individuals like myself, but on the whole
it won't. it's inevitable that non-recursive procedural syntaxes will be
proposed to replace it and will prevail.
i put this down to the brain's excellent ability to strategise through a
long series of operations to a goal, but it's almost total confusion
when the path is hidden by recursion.
again i put this down as a big part of the reason sql prevailed over the
original postgres, the continuing populariy of c in spite of the object
oriented assault of c++, etc.
it would probably be very good to get the w3c to have the standards /
techniques we use examined by psychologists to get some perspective on
how well mortal programmers (let alone others) will be able to
comprehend and then use the standards and tools devoloped.
its interesting that the biggest mass market organisation such as
newspapers/radio/tv all have standards of reading age, comprehension
times, etc that they use to ensure the effective communication of their
message. perhaps the current growing list of xml(ish) alternatives all
trying to do the same task is just a reflection of this issue and we
should look at the psychological interface between the techniques and
the people who have to use them.
Michael Champion wrote:
>On Mon, 8 Nov 2004 08:26:29 -0500, Roger L. Costello <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>>From my examinations, it would appear that XQuery is a superset of XSLT. I
>>wonder about the future of XSLT?
>I believe David Carlisle has it right: XSLT2 and XQuery are
>functionally very similar. (Michael Kay's chapter in XQUERY FROM THE
>EXPERTS compares and contrasts them very clearly).
> That means it comes down to essentially a matter of style when
>choosing to use or support one vs the other. Some of this is just a
>matter of whether one prefers to work in XML syntax (XSLT) or
>something more like a programming language syntax (XQuery). The
>biggest difference is whether one is comfortable applying the
>recursive template matching style encouraged by XSLT or the more
>conventional programming style of XQuery.
>In my experience working with developers and users, this is the
>biggie: There is a certain hard core of SGML/XML people who just
>'grok' the XSLT development style and can use if to great advantage.
>But there are a lot of people (and I count myself among them, to my
>shame) that just can't get anything non-trivial done in XSLT without
>an example to work from and a reference manual in hand. Many of those
>same people can grok the basics of XQuery pretty quickly ("oh, it's a
>lot like SQL except ....").
>My rough estimate from talking to XML users (as opposed to geeks) over
>the years is that SQL/XQuery grokkers outnumber XSLT grokkers by
>something like 10:1. Does that mean that anyone -- W3C, the big
>companies, whoever -- intends to deprecate XSLT? Definitely not,
>because there is no central authority in W3C (or Microsoft/IBM/Oracle,
>AFAIK) who knows or cares enough about this issue to have made such a
>decision, especially considering that different constituencies within
>them have different opinions. Everyone is trading off the needs of
>their users, the capacities of their developers, and the availability
>of alternatives, and these calculations give different results over
>time. For example, SQL-XML is starting to get some reality behind it,
>and that might well tilt some thinking toward a strategy of "XSLT for
>the people who grok it, SQL-XML for people who don't." I don't know.
>Another factor is likely to be whether the XQuery/XSLT2 specs become
>Recommendations in short order. I think patience is wearing thin;
>even those who might have planned 5 years ago for XQuery to replace
>XSLT as their preferred solution are likely to reconsider if the spec
>doesn't start moving more rapidly toward completion and real industry
>acceptance. [Obligatory disclaimer: I'm only reading tea leaves
>here, I don't have any inside information about this from anyone]
>Anyway, I would like hear from people who have strong feelings about
>whether XSLT meets their needs and XQuery doesn't or vice versa,
>whether SQL-XML will eventually eat XQuery's lunch in database
>scenarios, and what people plan do with XQuery *besides" use it as a
>database query language.
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