I came across one of those blogs today where an author who sort of half-understands a subject decides to test that knowledge by tearing into the work of another author. This time the tearee was me (with respect to my most recent O’Reilly column “XML.com: Location, Location, Location” and the attack happened to be laughably off-base). I tried to submit the rebuttal as a comment to the blog posting itself, but the server gave me a script error, so here it is.
Dear <XSLT:Blogger />, your comments on my article are extremely unfair in that you select quotes from the article entirely out of context in order to make an entirely bogus point. If you look at my published body of XSLT out there (and there is a lot of it), you won’t find a single place where I use a construction such as /labels to access the document element of a well-formed source document in XSLT.
In the article I was demonstrating techniques for automatically generating XPath, not examples of elegant, hand-written XPath. I certainly mention a couple of times in the article that the XPaths aren’t ideally constructed. And why should they be? They’re examples of machine generation. How often do you see machine generated code that is very elegantly constructed. Have you seen XSLT generated from schematron.xsl? Now top this off with the fact that the article (already pretty long) was intended to be a demonstration of overall techniques, not a comprehensive micro-analysis of every facte of XPath generation.
As you admit, all the generated XPaths are technically correct. As for stylistic issues, of course I know that there is only one element node in a well-formed XML file, and that XSLT requires normalization of text nodes are automatically normalized. I expect that most people who can follow XPath know that as well. The article was not a tutorial of XPath, nor did it claim to be.
And by the way, while you were climbing your high horse, you made a fundamental error of your own:
‘Second, there is no text node that is a child node of �emph�. The text contained within the �emph� element is the value of �emph�, not the value of a text node that is a child of �emph�.’
Are you telling me that you are not aware that
results in “Midwinter Spring”
or in terms you wouldn’t find “annoying” that
is the same value as
Yes, indeed, I just re-read, and you are saying just that in an attempt to “correct” me. Sorry, but the spec contradicts you. I know, because I have implementd XPath and XSLT several times over and I know the spec very well.
In conclusion you were not able to point out a single actual error in my article, so perhaps you should not try to pull down the work of others by cutting their context to shreds in future. <XSLT:Blog /> is generaly a nice site. I’d be as happy as any other reader if you didn’t ruin it with more of the same.