Using XML and XSLT for web development has clear advantages over traditional approaches. Within an organization, it promotes separation of duties. Data managers, content providers, graphics designers, and programmers can each work in their areas of expertise. From a project management perspective, team members can work in parallel, rather than overloading one or two individuals with handling all aspects of a project.
A major advantage of using XSLT is that it doesn’t lock you into any one server language, vendor-specific API, or framework. Once you have your XSLT in place, it can be used with Java servlets, Perl, PHP, or just about any server-based language. It does represent a different programming model, however, more like a rule-based expert system than a C program. Expressing programming concepts in XML can be challenging, but with some basic knowledge of XML and XSLT you can quickly create some impressive web applications.
Next time we’ll move on to step 4 and explore how the parsing and processing support provided in JAXP can help integrate your programs with XML data. (And we’ll see why the ZwiftBooks programming team complained when presented with the challenge of adapting their software to the AsiaBooks format.)