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."

#22 Re:The XSL Challenge

by Michael Leventhal <>

Tuesday May 25th, 1999 11:20 AM

You are replying to this message

>I think that whether or not people think that XSL is superior to CSS, it is important that Mozilla add support for it solely for the reason that Microsoft supports it.

I think this is a very interesting point. I, of course, really want Mozilla to be successful in competing with IE so I am very sympathetic to your point of view.

However, it really is not sure that XSL will become a W3C Recommendation - obviously I am advocating against it and I certainly hope that at least nothing like the present XSL ever is. If XSL does not become a W3C Recommendation I think Microsoft does not get any advantage from what they've got now. Certainly not compared to Mozilla's superlative CSS and DOM support.

Secondly, as the article in in support of XSL by Ken Holman points out, Microsoft's implementation of XSL is already considered at great deviance from the XSL draft and perhaps even an abuse of it. If I were giving advice to one of consulting clients I would, unquestionably, have to tell them to steer clear of XSL in IE5. XSL in IE5 has been a big marketing lever for Microsoft but it is not a valid technology choice unless you only care if your pages work under IE5 and not in any browser to come in the future from Microsoft or anyone else. I believe Microsoft themselves describe their XSL implementation as being for the purposes of "experimentation".

Michael Leventhal