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."

#16 XSL-T Rules, XSL-FO sucks

by Paul Houle <>

Monday May 24th, 1999 3:25 AM

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The XSL standard is broken into two halves, the XSL transformation language and the XSL Formatting Objects. XSL-T has generated a lot of excitement with developers, whereas XSL-FO has generated a lot of excitement with marketing morons.

XSL-T is a good thing. It's a way of manipulating XML documents comparable to manipulating text with regular expressions. Combined with an extension mechanism into a scripting or regular language (such as Saxon, see <>) it's a great way to rapidly develop XML-smart applications.

XSL-FO, on the other hand, is garbage. When I first saw XSL, Microsoft's minions stuck XSL-FO in my face so I wouldn't see the brilliance of XML-T. XSL-FO makes most people who see it feel sick -- instinctually, it's clear that the same minds who designed the "office packages" that let third-rate secretaries and local pizza chains torment me with fifth-rate documents wanted to infect the web with more documents that look like hell.