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 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" (4th edition).
Michael Kay

From: Fernando Ribeiro []
Sent: 08 November 2008 19:08
To: Mailing list for the SAXON XSLT and XQuery processor
Subject: [saxon] Alternate Output Methods

Fellow Saxonians,
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 all?
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.
Fernando Ribeiro