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RE: [xml-dev] XML support in browsers?

 > Why do people despise XSLT so much?
Well, as I said before, there is certainly a tendency for people to either love it or hate it.
I think the people who get on well with XSLT are either:
* non-programmers who use it as a simple templating language and don't attempt any serious structural or algorithmic transformations: they like the fact that it doesn't feel like programming
* programmers with a sufficiently deep understanding of their craft to appreciate the semantic power of the language and not be fazed by recursion, rule-based programming, or quirky syntax
The people who don't get on well with it are programmers (and script kiddies) who think they can approach it as "just another scripting language" that will behave like the previous language they used and that can be learnt by trial and error without first studying the concepts. Sometimes they are put off by the surface syntax and the verbosity (especially in the case of XSLT 1.0, and especially if you try to use it without understanding template rules), sometimes they are put off because they just can't get to grips with rule-based programming (they like to be "in control", which means writing imperative code), sometimes they can't cope with the functional nature of the language (their mental model of programming is based on putting values in memory locations) and in particular with recursion. Another factor that causes a lot of frustration is debugging: you don't tend to get much help from the system either at compile-time or at run-time when you get your path expressions wrong (and schema-aware programming, which largely solves this problem, is typically used only by those who are already experts and don't need convincing). Another factor (largely solved by XSLT 2.0) is that the function library is so sparse compared with other languages.


Michael Kay


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