The Saxon list isn't the best place for a discussion about
what should and should not be in the XSLT specification: I would suggest the
xsl-list at mulberrytech.com as a more appropriate forum.
The abstract of the XSLT 2.0 specification says that XSLT
offers "an interface to the serialization component" which is described in a
separate publication. I don't think of an XSLT processor as performing
serialization, I think of it as having an option to pass the XML result tree to
a serializer for further processing. So XSLT always produces an XML document
(the result tree) as the output of the transformation, regardless of how
that tree is then processed by the serializer.
You'll also see that view of the architecture promoted in
the diagram on page 43 of my book "XSLT 2.0 and XPath 2.0 Programmers Reference"
Do you think that alternate
output methods like text fit in the definition of XSLT as a "a
language for transforming XML documents into other XML documents" at
Even though I see a strong need for XML
converters, maybe a XSLT processor isn't really to take on that
role. I think that things like the DataDirect XML Converters
may fit better.