WebReference.com - Part 2 of chapter 12 of XSLT Developer's Guide, from Osborne/McGraw-Hill (3/4)
XSLT Developer's Guide
We conclude this topic by considering the key deployment issues that you are likely to come across while using XSLT to solve enterprise-level problems. To accomplish this, we provide a checklist of questions that you will want to go over to solve the XSLT-related problem at hand effectively and optimally.
What is the business problem that needs to be solved? Perhaps to you are learning XSLT just for the fun of learning to program in a new declarative language. That is fine, and hopefully the discussion in this book has helped you in this regard. However, chances are that you will be wanting to use XSLT to solve real-life technical problems, which generally have the end goal of supporting a business need within an enterprise. Therefore, ask further questions to determine whether this problem belongs in one of the well-defined domains such as B2C, B2B, EAI, content syndication and management, and the like. To the extent that you define the problem at hand clearly, your design and development approach will be that much more efficient.
Is XSLT appropriate for my business problem, or will some other language be better to solve the current problem? This is not always an easy question to answer, partly because we as developers try to solve problems using the tools that we are most comfortable with. Moreover, we have our own biases toward and against certain programming languages. You will be well served by revisiting the sections that address the strengths and limitations of XSLT before deciding to use it for your project. XSLT appears to be a bit verbose at first glance: certain tasks that take only a couple of lines of code in certain programming languages take perhaps a page of XSLT coding. However, as long as there is a pattern within the input and output, you can automate repetitive tasks by writing templates, and this is where XSLT's primary strength lies. If you then decide that XSLT is the right approach for the problem at hand, there are more questions to be asked before jumping into programming.
Is it best for me to wait until XSLT is more widely adopted by the business community, or should I take a more proactive approach to stay ahead of the pack? You have probably come across spirited discussions about whether XSLT is ready for a wider use, particularly on the client side. We believe so, and we believe you should seriously consider it in building enterprise strength applications. Support for XSLT shown by major software vendors such as Oracle, Vignette, and Interwoven and organizations such as Reuters in solving real-life problems are strong endorsements of the strength of XSLT. With the XSLT 2.0 specification just around the corner, further enhancements are clearly in the works and are likely to bode well for the future of XSLT.
What, if any, is my organization's XML strategy? Ever since XML became a buzzword, most companies have been at least somewhat curious about what it can do for them. There is no question that there is plenty of hype about how XML (and XSLT) can help a company's ROI. You will want to decide if XML fits within the larger context of your company's IT strategy. We believe that this is one of the most important questions to be answered before starting a project that involves extensive use of XML/XSLT, although few people think about this point carefullyÂso if you are one of them, give yourself a pat on the back!
Created: June 3, 2002
Revised: June 3, 2002