The XSL Challenge

Friday May 21st, 1999

C. David Tallman has news of an interesting article at In it, Michael Leventhal of CITEC (the group creating DocZilla) takes off the gloves and challenges XSL to best XML/CSS/DOM in a competition of functionality/usability in the web application space. Interestingly, Mozilla plays an important role in the contest. From

"Anything XSL can do in the Web environment, I can do better using technologies supported by current W3C Recommendations. Of course, what is 'meaningful' in the Web environment is open to a variety of interpretations. Therefore, the subject of the challenge should be one that the XSL camp and I agree is meaningful. I am also ready to make this bet a little bit more than an academic exercise. If I lose, I will pledge that I, and my crack mozilla development team, will assist in implementing XSL in the mozilla open source project. If my opponents lose they will agree to desist from XSL advocacy, vote against an XSL Recommendation if they are members of the W3C, and will join me in calling for full, flawless, and unequivocal vendor support of CSS1 and CSS2, DOM Level 1, and XML 1.0 as the very first and top priority of the web community."

#1 Re:

by JavaScriptDOMTedious

Friday May 21st, 1999 11:39 PM

You are replying to this message

Haven't we heard these before?

"Anything you can do with SMIL, I can do with plugins and JavaScript or DHTML"

"Anything you can do in C++, I can do in C, or Assembly. I can write object oriented programs in assembly language.."

And so on.

Any Turing Complete language can do anything that any other language can. I'm sure that Javascript Style Sheets can do anything that CSS can.

The point is, end users don't want to have to constantly write transformation engines OVER AND OVER in Javascript using DOM.

Can you imagine writing the following query?

"for each section, whose title attribute is the same as it's chapter attribute, when processing the table of contents, do the following..."

This is quite trivial to do in XSL or DSSSL, and irritating to write via Javascript and DOM calls "getElementsByName...for each child, check see if it is a section table, ok, now compare attributes, ...."

Consider the absurdity of eliminating CSS selectors and doing EVERYTHING via the DOM.

First of all, code would be

1) tedious to write 2) repeated over and over again 3) require more bandwidth to download 4) slower 5) uneditable by WYSIWYG because they don't understand complicated Javascript/DOM expressions used to target a specific node.

This DocZilla thing is nothing more than a blatant attempt to get press, and someone grinding a technical axe who obviously hasn't thought about the implications.