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What is the role of XSLT?
XSLT has its origins in the aspiration to separate information content from presentation on the Web. HTML, as originally defined, achieved a degree of device independence by defining presentation in terms of abstractions such as paragraphs, emphasis, and numbered lists. As the Web became more commercial, publishers wanted the same control over quality of output that they had with the printed medium. This gradually led to an increasing use of concrete presentation controls such as explicit fonts and absolute positioning of material on the page. The unfortunate but entirely predictable side effect was that it became increasingly difficult to deliver the same content to alternative devices such as digital TV sets and WAP phones (repurposing in the jargon of the publishing trade).
Drawing on experience with SGML in the print publishing world, XML was defined early in 1998 as a markup language to represent structured content independent of its presentation. Unlike HTML, which uses a fixed set of concepts (such as paragraphs, lists, and tables), the tags used in XML markup are entirely user defined, and the intention is that they should relate to objects in the domain of interest (such as people, places, prices, and dates).
Whereas the elements in HTML are essentially typographic (albeit at a level of abstraction), the aim with XML is that the elements should describe real-world objects. For example, Listing 1 shows an XML document representing the results of a soccer tournament.
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