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   Re: Stylesheets considered limiting (was Re: XLink - where are we?)

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  • From: Paul Prescod <papresco@technologist.com>
  • To: xml-dev@ic.ac.uk
  • Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 08:21:47 -0600

Peter Murray-Rust wrote:
> Nothing wrong with this view. People (even me) want to read paper. But I
> certainly feel that almost everything else is seen as lower priority than
> the holy grail of high-performance text formatting. And the policy makers
> in the W3C community are very much oriented towards paper-like operations.

I'm not sure where you get this impression. Let's consider the specs that
have been completed since XML:

Document Object Model (DOM) Level 1 
Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL) 1.0 Specification 
PICS Signed Labels (DSig) 1.0 Specification
Cascading Style Sheets, level 2 (CSS2) Specification 
Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) 1.0 Specification 

Of these, only one even specifically *addresses* the needs of paper-like
operation (CSS). And CSS is for HTML, not XSL. Another is useful for print
only as a side effect (MathML). The rest have essentially nothing to do
with print, other than through their application to all of XML.

> 2 years since the conception of XML and we cannot (with general agreement
> on interoperability):
>         - send a hyperlink over the wire
>         - send a button over the wire
>         - since a date over the wire
>         - send a structured graphic over the wire
> We *can* send a mathematical equation.

You forget that using only existing standards, we also cannot send an XML
paragraph, or a bolded word in way that can display in two browsers. We
can downtranslate to HTML, but you can do that with hyperlinks and buttons

> This may sound unfair and - yes, I know - there are many things in the
> pipeline but IMO the innovation that we saw 18 months ago is disappearing.

My impression is the opposite. Two years ago, we were arguing about how to
handle whitespace.

> Yes, I know that there are XML-aware browsers and client side stylesheets
> but the purpose of what Jon was describing is often so they can send it
> straight to their local printer.

I don't understand your point. Why would Jon go to all of the effort of
pushing the XML effort to re-solve problems that he had solved three years
ago? I'd be surprised if Sun is even going to bother disrupting existing
systems for "XML compliance" in the near future. Nobody in the XML world
is trying to recreate SGML and DSSSL. Why would we bother?

 Paul Prescod  - http://itrc.uwaterloo.ca/~papresco

At today's pop doubling rates, in 100 years there will be 20 billion
people, more than enough to fill the earth. In 300 years, we will have
filled up 16 earth-sized planets (roughly, our solar system). In 2300
years we will have filled up 200 billion earth-sized planets (roughly,
our galaxy). Only one technology can save us: birth control.

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