XSLT and Scripting Languages

Paul Prescod

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Abstract:

XSLT is the only programming language standardized specifically for processing XML. Nevertheless, the XSLT specification states: "XSLT is not intended as a completely general-purpose XML transformation language." It is surely even less appropriate as a general purpose programming language. Nevertheless, some XSLT advocates have noted that more and more processing can be moved into the XSLT domain as more and more data is represented or transferred as XML. On the other hand, scripting languages are certainly general purpose. Most of the modern ones have features designed for programming in the large such as object orientation and exception handling. They also have quite solid XML support. They could certainly be used to do anything that would otherwise be done by XSLT. Advocates of these languages also see more and more processing moving from the world of traditional programming languages (e.g. C, C++ and Java) into scripting languages. Some claim that there is no need for XSLT at all. They ask why scripting languages should cede any part of the XML processing domain to XSLT. Obviously these arguments can only be both compelling if there is some substantial overlap in the problem domains of scripting languages and XSLT. This paper is intended to explore this overlap and help the reader to choose whether to learn and use one or both of these emerging technologies.

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Keywords: XSLT 1.00.8;

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