So what's the hype about XSL? It's all about the output. XSL is a full-fledged, flexible programming language that can be used to manipulate multiple inputs into one or more complex outputs such as HTML (XHTML, HTML5), PDF, course catalog, faculty directory, and a mobile site. Sure, these outputs are possible with other programming languages, but XSL requires less code and man hours to perform the same function.
True separation of content and design — Content is stored in open-standard XML files
within OU Campus and transformed with the appropriate output styling through XSL templates. Site redesigns do not require any changes to your content files.
Multi-file input — Multiple inputs can be manipulated to create one or more outputs.
Consider a student course catalog that needs to pull together class descriptions, program requirements, and administrative guidelines from different systems across campus. Bringing this data together is easy with OU Campus and XSL.
Multi-file output — A single piece of content in OU Campus can be output into multiple designs or formats
(e.g., mobile, PDF, text only) making repurposing content easy. Simply associating
that content with additional XSL stylesheets provides these outputs.
Non-rigid/non-proprietary document structure — In OU Campus, you can use the XML
structure that defines your content best. Your content is not locked into a proprietary format.
Modularized and nested templates — XSL allows developers to maintain modular and
extremely granular template control within OU Campus. Want every external link to open in a new tab? Just import 3 lines of code.
Flexibility and power — The flexibility and power XSL gives you in OU Campus is tremendous. You can sort, index, and group data in the presentation layer; change the output depending on actual values; use data structure information to drive your UI; and much more.
Specification is defined and maintained by the W3C — XSL is the only language to have official W3C recommendation for use as a templating language. Knowledge of HTML aids in familiarity of the syntax, while CSS aids in learning rules and selectors, making it very easy for developers to learn.