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

On 2010 Apr 12, at 22:13, Michael Kay wrote:

> 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

I cannot see the 'similar', but I do honestly appreciate the tactical advantage that instance syntax gave the language.  It's a pity that here, as in so many instances in life, tactics turned into strategy, and we end up stuck with DSSSL--.

> 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.

Well... the deep attactions of a particular programming paradigm, very well hidden by the not-so-superficial ugliness of XSLT (which remains ugly for at least one layer after you abstract away the pointy brackets).

I'm not seriously cheerleading for DSSSL here -- that battle's lost and won.  I suppose all I'm really doing here is logging my gratitude to DSSSL (and thus to Clark) for opening my eyes to functional programming.  I've never looked back.

> 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.

Yes, but these are benefits of functional languages in general.  XSLT inherits those because it's one of a family of minimal-syntax lisp-like languages.

All the best,


Norman Gray  :  http://nxg.me.uk

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