Old promise, new realization
XSLT was originally designed with client-side processing in mind
This never / quite happened or did it? with XSLT 1.0
Yes, you can (sorta) get it to work ...
Impediments to this effort
No API or runtime interface to XSLT execution
Considerable limitations of XSLT 1.0
At long last, Saxonica offers a solution that addresses both problems
Background / context / problem: (lack of) business case for exposing XML (what?)
The web is dead
Several things killed it, including the predominant advertising-based sustainability model
The web is a big competition over placement and ranking in indexes
Bots and crawlers are more important than people, as "consumers"
Much information has retreated again behind pay walls
So hasn't XML in the browser missed its moment?
But the browser has emerged as a platform
Nevertheless the web subsists / evolves / matures as a capable medium because there must always be a "reductio" ("base") medium to which other media / channels can appeal
Thus it remains a way to get stuff in front of people
(One at a time if not en masse)
Meanwhile it has become more standard and stable with cross-browser scripting and CSS a priority
Opportunity of the moment
In the case of SaxonJS, the transformations (XSLT) must be compiled up front
Saxonica offers this feature under Saxon PE and EE licenses
Once XSLT is compiled, further use / sharing is free (no costs, licenses or registration for anyone)
Drop it onto a web server and go
Why this may actually work
SaxonJS is carefully placed on the strategic fine edge between standards-based and proprietary
As a proprietary platform it externalizes everything it can to the standards
E.g., already-owners of XML can reuse our same stylesheets (usually / almost)
This creates new possibilities of "information arbitrage" - power of XML at lower cost - to them that hath, shall be given
SaxonJS is licensed but your XML, XSLT, compiled SEF and design all belong to you
What about the business case
It's still difficult to argue for "giving away the semantics"
Yet - while XML can expose the source, with SaxonJS we get obfuscation of the processing, for free
(Yes, we can still obfuscate the source if we want to)
This places stress on XSLT (compiled into SEF) as (site of) "added value": not the information but its rendition (logic)
For some kinds of applications this might actually work
How it changes design
Emphasis goes back to the work as a whole, no longer so much "pages"
Multiple views and access points reflect peculiar semantics of the source data
Server doesn't disappear, just becomes a resource
Question: How about XForms under SaxonJS? (XRX with SaxonJS in front)
There is no irony here
XSLT turns out to be really good at event handling!
HTML/CSS provide canvas and paints
XSLT is all the techniques of application
Matching elements in the (rendered) page is as easy as matching anywhere else
XML publication becomes its own archive
(Edit XML in git repo, then render via XSLT/SaxonJS?)
What kinds of data, again?
Standards, reference catalogs and authority files
Educational or not-for-profit publication
Public domain, government and open data sets
Architecture is still a bit opaque and cumbersome
Um but compared to what?
Maybe we can help with that
You still gotta know XSLT (boy do you)
Development and debugging
Getting started kit
Set of stylesheets can produce:
"host" HTML landing page with syntax and callouts
"starter" XSLT with templa
normalized-as-standalone XML document copy
New ways to learn XSLT
Client-side XSLT was always fun - until you hit the wall
Now we can better contemplate learning XSLT from the inside out
New forms of "meaningful learning application" should become possible
Delpratt, O'Neil, and Michael Kay. “Interactive XSLT in the browser.” Presented at Balisage: The Markup Conference 2013, Montréal, Canada, August 6 - 9, 2013. In Proceedings of Balisage: The Markup Conference 2013. Balisage Series on Markup Technologies, vol. 10 (2013). doi:https://doi.org/10.4242/BalisageVol10.Delpratt01.
Lockett, Debbie, and Michael Kay. “Saxon-JS: XSLT 3.0 in the Browser.” Presented at Balisage: The Markup Conference 2016, Washington, DC, August 2 - 5, 2016. In Proceedings of Balisage: The Markup Conference 2016. Balisage Series on Markup Technologies, vol. 17 (2016). doi:https://doi.org/10.4242/BalisageVol17.Lockett01.
Piez, Wendell. TEI Overlap Demonstration. (Saxon-CE demo in the browser.) See http://www.piez.org/wendell/projects/Interedition2011/
Piez, Wendell. XML Jigsaw. Project on Github at https://github.com/wendellpiez/XMLJigsaw
SaxonJS Documentation. From Saxonica. http://www.saxonica.com/saxon-js/documentation/
[sq_pan] SoftQuad Inc. SoftQuad Panorama product announcement, 1995. Archived at http://xml.coverpages.org/panofeat.html
oXygen XML Editor. From SyncroSoft. https://www.oxygenxml.com/