[XML-SIG] Re: Confused and grasping

Thomas B. Passin tpassin@idsonline.com
Sat, 25 Sep 1999 18:18:28 -0400

Uche -

Thanks for the references to XSL training material and other links.  I got one of the sample pdf files from Crane.  But I don't think much of it - too complex and confusing.  I agree, though, that it's a hard road to read the XSLT spec and go from there.  On the other hand, we did it, it can be done.  

I'm publishing a short introductory article too, but it will be in a conference proceedings for a conference in January 2000, so it won't really be helpful to readers of this list.  I'll see if I can get permission from my company to modify it and find somewhere to publish it.  Any suggestions where?

For anyone starting off with XSLT I have these key pieces of advice -
1) Start with VERY SIMPLE xml input files, but
2) Make sure they have at least 2 or 3 levels of nested elements, and 
3) most of all, DO NOT INCLUDE ANY MARKUP in the output at first.  Just make the stylesheet output plain text.  Markup tags just confuse you and keep you from knowing if the output is right.  When you can get the attribute text and output it where you want, when you can pick up all the nested elements, when you can number sections or elements, when you can sort the results, then it is time to add markup tags.  Not before.

Finally Uche, I didn't suggest 4xslt because you have to install so many pieces for it.  XT is so much simpler.  I don't have 4xslt running myself yet because of this.  How about making a package with all-in-one for us regular folks? With so many pieces there could be versioning problems, and a package would alleviate that, too.  But my highest regards to you for developing it to its current state!!

Tom P

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com>
To: Thomas B. Passin <tpassin@idsonline.com>
Cc: <xml-sig@python.org>
Sent: Saturday, September 25, 1999 2:11 PM
Subject: Re: [XML-SIG] Re: Confused and grasping 

> > Jeff, what you want to do is get XT from James Clark's web site:
> > 
> > http://www.jclark.com/xml/xt.html
> Since this is the Python/XML list, I won't miss the chance to plug 4XSLT,
> http://opentechnology.org/4Suite/4XSLT
> It is mostly written in Python.  It doesn't cover as much of XSLT as XT does, 
> but it covers more than enough to get started (and full coverage is coming 
> RSN).
> It also has a Python API, naturally.
> > get the XSLT standard from the W3C web site:
> > 
> > http://www.w3.org 
> > 
> > and start fooling with XSLT.  XSLT is one way to generate all those document types from a master document.  It has nothing to do with extracting data and creating the original document, but given an XML document, you will be in business.  Soon there will probably be XSL Postscript formatters, and you will need XSLT to use them.
> Ouch!  This is a hard path along which to send a newbie.  See below.
> > There is very little written about using XSLT, and most of what there is, is out of date and virually worthless. The is because there have been MAJOR changes to the standards since December 1998, but most published work refers to the April or August 1998 versions. Nothing earlier than the Spring 1999 version will do.  
> There is one good resource, if you are willing to spend $40.  Crane 
> Softwrights sell XSLT training material in PDF that matches the August-99 XSLT 
> WD.  I'm not associated with them, but I've seen the material and it's quite 
> good.
> http://www.CraneSoftwrights.com/training
> I should have an article out in LinuxWorld any day now (the editors are a bit 
> back-logged) that has a short, but intensive intro to XSLT.  I'll let the list 
> know when it comes out.
> Also,
> http://www.xmlsoftware.com/articles/xsl-by-example.html
> Is indeed based on the 1998 XSLT drafts, but besides the namespace, at first 
> glance, I don't see too much that is broken by the latest draft.  James Tauber 
> also promises to update the tutorial soon, so watch that space.
> -- 
> Uche Ogbuji
> FourThought LLC, IT Consultants
> uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com (970)481-0805
> Software engineering, project management, Intranets and Extranets
> http://FourThought.com http://OpenTechnology.org