Michael Snoyman's blog

Note: This blog does not get updated very often. Most of my blog posts end up on the Yesod blog.

Open Letter to XSLT Fans

April 5, 2012

Dear XSLT fans,

Please don't insist on calling your bastard child of a language "functional." Just because it got one thing sort-of right (immutable data), doesn't mean that it in any way represents a real functional language.

I'm not even talking about the hideously verbose syntax, or the completely obtuse data model. The fact that you can't know what any single line of code does without reviewing every other line in the program makes this language an abomination.

Don't believe me? Ask me for examples, I'll prove it. But anyone who's used XSLT for multi-file projects likely knows I'm right.

Oh, and the fact that you can call a language functional when it lacks first class functions makes my eye twitch. I'm tempted to upload a video of my eye twitching just to prove it.

Sincerely, A Haskell programmer who spends an inordinate amount of time debugging bad XSLT.

PS: I would gladly write a program in Java, or C++, or likely assembly, over XSLT any day. Those languages may have issues, but they're sane tools. XSLT is just fundamentally broken.