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News: IBM Releases XML Feature Pack (XPath/XSLT 2.0, XQuery 1.0)

  1. IBM WebSphere Application Server Feature Packs are optionally installable product extensions that offer targeted, incremental new features. Since first being standardized in 1999, XML usage in application development environments has grown significantly to include many scenarios. WebSphere Application Server is a leading platform for the latest application development standards that matter including XML. The XML Feature Pack is based on a subset of these standards. To read the announcement of these standards, click on this link. The IBM WebSphere Application Server Feature Pack for XML provides application developers with support for the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) XML standards XSLT 2.0, XPath 2.0, and XQuery 1.0. These new and updated W3C XML standards enable application developers with numerous advanced capabilities for building XML applications. Specific benefits delivered in the XSLT 2.0 (subset implementation), XPath 2.0, and XQuery 1.0 (subset implementation) standards include:
    • Helps simplify XML application development and improve developer productivity.
    • Query large amounts of data stored in XML outside of a database with XQuery 1.0.
    • Designed to improve XML application performance through new features introduced in the W3C specifications to address previous shortcomings.
    • Helps improve upon XML application reliability with new support for XML Schema awareness and validation.
    See my blog entry on the release along with video demos here. Download the beta here.
  2. So what's the benefit over Saxon which supports all of the above, is quite stable, and is usable in any context, not just WebSphere? Is it just that if you already own WebSphere you can get a schema-aware XSLT 2 implementation at no extra charge (whereas schema awareness is only available in the commercial version of Saxon)? Does it provide full source code as Saxon does (at least for the non-commercial portions)?
  3. Saxon is a one-man show. It has two versions - one for paying clients and a cut-down version for the non-paying. I will not use Saxon, if my application is not a throw-away application.
  4. We have used Saxon's XSLT engine in our enterprise application for many years. It is deployed in many business critical and high volume installations, Saxon has never caused any issues for us. We switched to XSLT 2.0 some 1.5 years ago...
  5. Saxon is a one-man show. It has two versions - one for paying clients and a cut-down version for the non-paying. I will not use Saxon, if my application is not a throw-away application.
    As another poster stated, we too have been using Saxon for years. It may be a one-man show, but that one man is Michael Kay, editor of the XSLT 2.0 spec and an editor of the XPath 2.0 spec, and generally deeply involved in all specs in this area. He's also addresses issues more rapidly than a horde of developers. Overall we've found Saxon and Michael Kay's support to be of the highest quality -- and this is in the free version!
  6. Re: The Benefit[ Go to top ]

    The benefit is providing WebSphere Application Server customers with support for these critically important XML standards. We will not be providing source code with this feature pack.
  7. Re: The Benefit[ Go to top ]

    The benefit is providing WebSphere Application Server customers with support for these critically important XML standards.

    We will not be providing source code with this feature pack.
    So how does this differ from them just deploying Saxon to their applications in WebSphere -- or dropping Saxon into lib/endorsed for that matter?
  8. The Benefit[ Go to top ]

    The benefit is providing WebSphere Application Server customers with support for these critically important XML standards.

    We will not be providing source code with this feature pack.


    So how does this differ from them just deploying Saxon to their applications in WebSphere -- or dropping Saxon into lib/endorsed for that matter?
    The difference is in who supports the functionality. Saxon, as folks have mentioned, has support for free for Saxon-B and charges for support of Saxon-SA. With the XML Feature Pack Beta, WAS customers work with IBM when they need help through the open beta program. Also, I wouldn't suggest putting any 3rd party library into lib/endorsed. I would suggest deploying any 3rd party library as part of a ear/war and/or using the WAS shared library support. This lets the application server manage the dependencies better and lets you enable them on a per application basis.
  9. This is currently a beta[ Go to top ]

    I should clarify as the title lost the "Beta" word that this technology is a Beta at this point. Anyone can freely download it and ask questions/post comments on our forum.
  10. I should note that one feature I'd like to see in an XSLT engine that I've not seen in *any* engine is comprehensive streaming support. Saxon provides some limited streaming support, but I've seen no XSLT engine that performs a deep static analysis of the XSLT and then uses the results to keep only as much of the source document in memory as necessary. Some XSLT stylesheets do operations that all but require random access on the entire source document, but some don't even require any look ahead/behind at all and could stream the entire document through. I'm not aware of any XSLT engine that analyzes the XSLT involved to stream where possible -- incorporating limited look-ahead/behind as needed. This is clearly possible in cases even without knowledge of the source document's schema, though this is necessary in other cases. Whoever implements this feature in a robust, high performance XSLT engine will push XSLT into areas it currently cannot touch. Or is this behavior present in XQuery engines and one has to use XQuery to get this even when one really is doing XSLT-like things?