Documentation transforms in JavaScript

Three weeks ago, I had a project idea while napping. I tried to forget it, but ended up prototyping it. Now I named it Hookbill and put it on GitLab. From the README:

I appear to be the last XSLT programmer in the world, and sometimes people get very cross with me when I say those four letters. So I had an idea. What if we did it in JavaScript using Mustache templates?

Just to give a glimpse, here’s the Hookbill template for paragraphs:

{{~#if (if_test element)~}}
{{~#var 'cls' normalize=true}}
  {{#if (contains 'lead')}}lead{{/if}}
  {{if_class element}}
<p class="{{vars.cls}}" {{call 'html-lang-attrs'}}>
  {{~call 'html-inline' element.children~}}

And here’s the equivalent XSLT for Mallard in yelp-xsl:

<xsl:template mode="mal2html.block.mode" match="mal:p">
  <xsl:variable name="if"><xsl:call-template name="mal.if.test"/></xsl:variable><xsl:if test="$if != ''">
    <xsl:call-template name="html.class.attr">
      <xsl:with-param name="class">
        <xsl:if test="contains(concat(' ', @style, ' '), ' lead ')">
          <xsl:text> lead</xsl:text>
        <xsl:if test="$if != 'true'">
          <xsl:text> if-if </xsl:text>
          <xsl:value-of select="$if"/>
    <xsl:call-template name="html.lang.attrs"/>
    <xsl:apply-templates mode="mal2html.inline.mode"/>

Is the hookbill template shorter? For sure. Is it better? In this case, yeah. For some other things, maybe not as much. It does force me to put a lot of logic in JavaScript, outside the templates. And maybe that’s a good thing for getting other people playing with the HTML and CSS.

I don’t know if I’ll continue working on this. It would take a fairly significant time investment to reach feature parity with yelp-xsl, and I have too many projects as it is. But it was fun to play with, and I thought I’d share it.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States
This work by Shaun McCance is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States.