Programming with Circles, Triangles and Rectangles is an interesting paper about integrating XML and its data model into programming language, introducing a language called Xen (good name!) as a demonstration.
Once you do, you get a long pause while the document is transformed, and then you see a page that looks like the state of the art circa 1996. After all that, I would have hoped at least to have some interesting effects, some unusual interaction, some truly beautiful typography. I got none of those things.
Why is there a client-side transform here in the first place? This is a large paper, 66K of XML, and it’s totally static. It’s the worst possible document to create with a client-side transform. Every reader will perform exactly the same computation to produce exactly the same page. Why not do the transform once, and then publish the HTML? And if you do need a client-side transform, why use a proprietary mechanism? Much simpler techniques (no coding required) are available that work in most modern browsers.
So in my effort to read what these clever guys have to say about using XML well in programming languages, I’m forced to confront the boneheaded XML decisions they made to get their paper on the web. Looking at the XSLT transform, it looks like the result of a publishing tool, but that doesn’t let them off the hook. It doesn’t bode well for the rest of their ideas...