I Am the Official Mascot of XSLT

I Am the Official Mascot of XSLT

The Transforming Robot is a 20-ft-tall humanoid machine that can turn into an airplane. He used this talent to become a film and television star in the 1980s, but he soon found himself without a job in the '90s. He was excited to hear about XSLT, remarking at the code, "There's more here than meets the eye!" And then he hunched over and groaned sadly.

by A Transforming Robot Looking for Work

Hey, I was pretty cool for a while. You all watched me on TV and film for quite a few years. And I think my day has come again. XSL Transformations have arrived. As a high-profile transformer of sorts, I declare myself the official mascot of XSLT.

And, honestly, what choice do you have? I'm huge, and I advocate transforming. I mean, just who else does that? Would you choose a monster like Mr. Hyde or the werewolf over me? I fought for justice, and for proper transformations within a specified set of rules. With those monsters as your mascots, you'd just have a bunch of programmers eaten by a dog boy, or a sociopath running about your offices! Is that what you want?

Well, I shouldn't assume too much. You did choose to watch other, more pathetic aliens like ALF over me. How am I to know that you wouldn't choose a recycled carpet with a snout over me again this time? It would take mature, discerning programmers and managers to choose me this time. And, er, ones that still like cartoons about giant robots. Now, just because you discarded me, turning off my TV shows and choosing a bunch of mutant turtles over me, that doesn't mean I'm still bitter. That was a long time ago. A long, long, depressingly long time ago. But just to be clear, we're not square. If you accept me as the new mascot, I demand a few changes be made. First, all non-W3C-compliant XML scripts will be renamed Evil Decepta-bot Scum. Second, all programmers will make a "wecka-wacku" sound when a document successfully transforms. Third, all of you will fear me. Oh, wait, did I say that out loud?

And, uh, if you aren't convinced yet, think about a few more things. Think about the fact that everyone thinks of me when they hear "transformation." They don't think about cascades, or styles of any sort. They think of me, kicking butt. Wouldn't you want everyone to know how cool your stylesheets are, with a smoking laser gun and me as your symbols? I've even learned to make a cool "X" with my arms every time I destroy an evil Decepta-bot with my gun of unlimited compliance. Yeah, I've thought about this. I've got ideas about it. Why are you looking at me like that?

All right, if you're going to be close-minded, allow me to expand on some of my ideas. How about this? A picture you can put on your XML products: me holding some of your validating software, exorcising an unruly stylesheet. No? Well, I think it's better than me continually having to use this giant laser gun to make a living. I'm trying to stop the violence! Doesn't that count for anything? All the rest of my friends are making a living in violent Japanimation movies. They want your children to grow up filled with hate for each other. You can trust me, though; I've reformed. I've renounced my murderous ways.

You wouldn't want that choice to go unrewarded, would you? I'd much rather hold up a cup of coffee and smile, symbolizing the partnership between Java and XML, than hold up the heads of Un-compliant-Bot and evil Unclosed-Tag-a-Bot, my mortal enemies. I could show off my ability to perform monologs, expounding on how I'll take revenge on evil boss bots for killing my leader.

I want to move on from that, though it was my specialty. Boy, I'd bring the house down when I shook my fist at the sky, standing in the junk pile that used to be my best friend. But I won't look back.

So, I've put forth my plea, my logic, my last shot at revitalizing my career. Now, come on, if an unholy demon of Satan can somehow become the mascot for a Unix operating system, how can you turn me away? If you don't take me, my only other choice is to sell myself on eBay. You'll be sorry when I'm a collector's item. Last chance! Wait, where are you going?

More Stories By Tod Emko

Tod wrote humor-oriented articles for the Syracuse Herald-Journal and held various writer, editor, and cartoonist positions at other publications before accepting his role as a computer nerd. He has years of experience as a front-end Web developer and Perl programmer, and is now a senior XSL script architect and XML documentation writer for

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