Re: Specify/determine element's "logical" parent2004-09-24 13:44:24
Hi John, At 05:32 PM 9/23/2004, you wrote:
I don't mean to gripe and I am sorry to bug the list with this, but I seem to be headed down a very deep and dark path with XSL. I'm just confusing myself more the deeper I dig, both surprised and frustrated at how difficult and complicated it seems for a beginner, and how many of the goals I research don't seem possible without custom and third-party extensions (dynamic XPath evaluation, etc.). I haven't even approached "how to navigate up my logical hierarchy". I think I need to take a few weeks off and research XSL but I have deliverables. I would be happy to RTFM if I could just find the FM online, and it's so different from my background that I can't even figure out what to search for.
You are not alone in this, alas; the problem seems to be getting more widespread. You have actually put your finger on the nub of the it: that you need to take a few weeks off and research XSL ... actually a good three-day full-immersion course would probably do it, plus some assimilation and "ramp-up" time. Except, as you say, you have deliverables: such courses cost both time and money up front.
See, that three-day immersion course would probably work by asking you first to deal with problems closer to what XSLT was designed for, the "easy stuff" (down-conversion of well-structured datasets conforming to XML "document types" known ahead of time), in the expectation that only once you understand the basics of the processing model, the way XSLT uses XPath, and so forth, can you realistically be expected to move on to more challenging applications.
The reason it seems to me that your predicament is getting to be more common is that XSLT is no longer in its infancy, so people know that non-trivial problems can be handled with it. (Maybe it's a toddler who's started to talk, and thinks it's ready for anything.) As the industry as a whole is better able to take advantage of XSLT's strengths and capabilities, pushing its boundaries to accomplish things that are otherwise difficult or impossible, it seems inevitable that there would be more instances both of projects that jump right into the deep water without first exploring the shallows, and of programmers assigned to do that deep-water work without the preparation.
None of this helps, I know, directly. Indirectly, maybe it's a help to know that (a) people have climbed the learning curve in the past, even the steep parts, so rest assured it can be done, (b) there are subscribers to the list who have an interest in seeing that this continues to happen, so you're not completely alone, and (c) your problem is a real one, of the kind that sometimes is best dealt with by pushing back. Tell your boss you're being asked to build a suspension bridge out of steel, and much of your experience building with concrete simply doesn't apply, even if you do know a lot about civil engineering. Generally speaking, "magic happens here" is not really a viable business proposition, even if you make sales on that basis.
Cheers, Wendell ====================================================================== Wendell Piez mailto:wapiez(_at_)mulberrytech(_dot_)com Mulberry Technologies, Inc. http://www.mulberrytech.com 17 West Jefferson Street Direct Phone: 301/315-9635 Suite 207 Phone: 301/315-9631 Rockville, MD 20850 Fax: 301/315-8285 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Mulberry Technologies: A Consultancy Specializing in SGML and XML ======================================================================