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RE: [xml-dev] RE: Declarative programming requires a different mindset

> I still very strongly suspect that XSLT was a James Clark 
> joke.  After being told that DSSSL would never take off 
> because it had the wrong shape of brackets, is it not the 
> case that he came back with a spoof mini-subset of it which 
> had the right brackets, but which was received with such 
> rapturous acclaim that he never had the heart to confess it 
> was intended as a gag.
> No?

No, the use of angle bracket syntax was to filter out undesirable users
whose minds had been corrupted by use of curly braces. This had the entirely
intentional consequence that the language is happily used (a) by people who
would otherwise be writing HTML and can see that XSLT is similar but does a
lot of the work for you, and (b) by programmers who are sufficiently
open-minded to see the deep beauty of the language through its superficial
ugliness, while scaring off the Javascript kiddies who don't deserve such
good tools.

In fact, using XML as the syntactic basis has many benefits. The most
notable one for me is that it is very easy to extend the language: whereas
XQuery goes through anguish every time a new construct is added, because of
the ambiguities and inconsistencies introduced by new grammar, XSLT is
infinitely extensible through new elements and attributes with no problems
at all.


Michael Kay

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