AWS Blog

Using AWS and XSLT to create JSON

It is always interesting to see how a developer’s background, experiences, and the contents of their “mental toolkit” come together in unique approaches to problem solving and creative thinking. Here’s an example of what I am talking about.

Alan Taylor of has been building applications with AWS since the early days, starting out with his pioneering first version of Amazon Light in 2003. With version 3 of his site, Alan showed that it was possible to build a complete and highly functional web site using a single CSS style sheet, Amazon ECS, an XSLT transform, and a single “entry” URL. Along the way, Alan has clearly learned the ins and outs of XSLT; in fact I think that it would be fair to say that he more or less “thinks in XSLT” (that’s a compliment, of course).

Alan_taylor_xslt_jsonIn his latest creative endeavor, Alan has figured out how to use an XSLT transform to convert raw Amazon ECS data into JSON objects. JSON, as you may know, is a very simple string-based data representation. Data structures of any complexity are represented as JavaScript expressions that, when evaluated, return fully-formed, easy to process JavaScript objects. This makes JSON an ideal way to feed data directly to browser-based applications.

Alan has written a comprehensive blog post on the subject, and I’ll refer you there for more information. Take a look at his new article, Consuming Amazon’s Web API Directly with Javascript, to learn more. The article introduces JSON and XSLT and then shows how to use them in conjunction with Amazon ECS. There are five complete examples in there, along with very complete explanations of how they work.