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Do custom tags really simplify web design?

 
Richard Taylor
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Here's an opener for 10....
Having designed multi-device portals using XML/XSL and also custom JSP tags, I have found that both methods leave a lot to be desired from the web designer's (and developers) point of view. Here's why...
1. both separate content from format. This is a Good Thing!
2. both have the ability to create almost unreadable HTML/XSL files. Bad bad bad.
3. both cause significant additional work on the part of the developer. I personally find custom JSP quite complex, even if you use a pre-built framework like Struts.
4. both need additional processing power.
So, the question is, are XML/XSL and JSP as elegant as it gets, or are they a halfway house, and there's something better coming 'real soon now'?
 
Adam Chace
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Richard,
You raise some good questions here, being a custom JSP zealot I will offer my perspective on a couple of your points.
1. both separate content from format. This is a Good Thing!
<adam>I fully agree</adam>
2. both have the ability to create almost unreadable HTML/XSL files. Bad bad bad.
<adam>I fully agree that XSL/XSLT files can and often are very unreadable, but I think well designed tags in HTML are typically very readable, especially to HTML folks who are used to tags and attributes.</adam>
3. both cause significant additional work on the part of the developer. I personally find custom JSP quite complex, even if you use a pre-built framework like Struts.
<adam>I would agree that the actual API for tags could be simpler, but it is improving. The resulting tag, if designed well, should be easy for the content developer though</adam>
4. both need additional processing power.
<adam>Not sure exactly what you mean by this, but if you mean that a standard web server needs to exert additional effort to server either, that is true. However, this is more a matter of how you partition the processing. If your web/appserver supports JSP you can simply view this as part of the processing power of the web server</adam>

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Adam Chace
Author of :JSP Tag Library
 
Brett Knapik
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I have read in my one of my JSP books that people use custom tag libraries to keep the code looking like that rest of the page instead of putting in scriplets etc.
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In Gates we trust. Yeah right....
 
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