Thursday, August 4th 2005

What's Up With Opera and XSL?

The other day I was reading up on things like PHP and XML at W3schools. I was sortof hunting for a way to make my web gallery database driven. I got to the part about XSL, and was amazed at how useful and powerful, yet simple, it seemed. (Have a look at their samples.) The good feelings soon wore off though, when I realized Opera doesn’t support XSL at all.

My first thought was that if even IE6 from 2001 can do this (which it can), why on earth can’t Opera (v. 8)? After searching the Opera forums for answers, it turns out Opera (the company) doesn’t think XSL is a good idea. (Remember, this is a W3C standard…) Opera doesn’t think XML should be transformed on the users computer – instead they insist that this transformation should (always!) be done on the server. (Read more about XML transformations [XSLT] here.)

Well, that’s very easy for them to say. But for all the rest of us, who aren’t PHP 1337, XSLT seems like a very usable standard. Of course, as with any language, there are right and wrong ways to use it. For instance, if I were to be the developer of some huge website, I wouldn’t send the user 4 MB of raw XML data, and then make the XSLT document pick out a few hundred kBs to display in the browser. Since I’m a thinking human being, I realize that wouldn’t be a good idea. The Opera developers don’t seem to think webmasters are capable of that kind of brain activity.

No Responses to this post:

  1. Bobby Jack says:

    Totally agree with you on this one. If the Opera team is so worried about web developers abusing XSLT, why do they support images, flash, javascript, etc., etc? If a site tries to deliver me a 4Mb XSLT file, hey, I won’t go to that site anymore – that’s the beauty of the web!I don’t know much about IE’s XSLT implementation, but, having just dipped my toe in the water, I can highly recommend Firefox’s.

  2. David Naylor says:

    Yeah, the image/flash/whatever parallel is pretty spot on.

  3. Doug Wright says:

    You could always take Google’s approach, and write (borrow their’s) an XSLT implementation in Javascript.IIRC, it was written in a Google programmers 20% time, specifically to address Opera’s shortcomings in this area.