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I'm just being curious here, but why is it so hard to implement formatting functions (format-date(), format-dateTime()...) in an XSLT processor? For instance, it was implemented very late into Saxon, and it's among AltovaXML's very few unsupported set of functions. I thought that formatting was one of the very first and basic group of functions that had to be implemented in any processor/interpreter/compiler. In other words, what's so different between an output formatting algorithm as implemented in procedural language as old as AWK or C and one implemented in XSLT's quasi-functional language processor? Note that I'm not much of a Java programmer, so reading Saxon's source won't help to tame my curiosity. I tried but could not find the answer anywhere, either on the web or in the books that I have.
I don't think it was particularly difficult to implement, and I don't think it was implemented particularly late. Like most things in Saxon, I think I implemented it quite soon after the spec was stable. It took a long time for the XSL WG to agree the spec, however, largely because of the localisation issues involved.
I can't speak for Altova, of course.