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   re: Weighing in on XSL / Standards

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  • From: David Megginson <david@megginson.com>
  • To: "XML Developers' List" <xml-dev@ic.ac.uk>
  • Date: Mon, 24 May 1999 08:01:04 -0400 (EDT)

Joshua E. Smith writes:

[on XSL]

 > Am I missing some history here?  When a detractor can say, with a
 > straight face, that he doubts the standard can actually be
 > implemented, that's usually a sign that the standard is *way* out
 > in front of the community, and needs more baking.

XSL inherits from at least two major sources -- FOSIs, which are/were
SGML instance-based stylesheets for typesetting SGML documents,
specified by the USDoD; and DSSSL, which is/was a declarative
Scheme-based language for transforming and formatting SGML documents,
standardized by ISO.  Both were implemented and used in
production-grade systems (in the case of DSSSL, only *partly*
implemented), and FOSIs were very heavily used through much of the

I don't think that anyone can say, with a straight face, that XSL
*cannot* be implemented, though the flow objects will be a challenge
(as with CSS, for that matter) -- the implementation process is fairly
straight-forward, and there are already several implementations
available (none is perfect, but that's to be expected when the spec
itself is still unstable).  In this regard, XSL is doing much better
than many other W3C specs.

The real question is what kind of market penetration XSL will have.
I'll probably use it a lot for my personal work, because I'm used to
that kind of programming and quite enjoy it; you may be right, though,
that it's too far in front of the Web community -- even a
brain-dead-simple thing like CSS1 is still having trouble catching on
after several years, and XSL is at least two orders of magnitude more
complex than CSS.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david@megginson.com

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