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   Re: Future of Formatting Objects (XSL/FO)

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  • From: Peter Murray-Rust <peter@ursus.demon.co.uk>
  • To: xml-dev@xml.org
  • Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 14:26:54 +0100

I was rather surprised by the amount of negativity in this discussion; my
original posting was meant to give support to those people who are actually
working on FOP, rather than get them depressed!

It seemed axiomatic to me that FOs were a good thing. Taking CML as an
example, I need to have a way of rendering the information [I shall avoid
the word "print"]. At present that rendering is usually in pixels - a
highly dangerous process - as pixels can get eliminated by rescaling and
the *wrong* information gets communicated. XML is the obvious answer. 

I agree wholeheartedly that rendering should be to all sorts of media [and
have consistently argued for this on XML-DEV since it started]. At present
our methods of *sending renderable information over the WWW* are horrible.
We have the following:
	- proprietary. I am not convinced that Word+Framemaker sent to a UNIX box
is an ideal solution.
	- status quo - XML, with no default method of rendering it.

If we compare the situation with SVG two years ago we had similar
discussions. SVG has no chance because:
	- no one wants it
	- CGM/Framemaker/VRML/whatever does everything that anyone wants
	- the manufacturers will never agree

SVG isn't finished but already we have several high-quality
implementations, which some of us are already starting to use
enthusiastically. The prototypes had missing bits and bugs but I haven't
heard a negative word on this list about SVG recently.

So why can't FOP have the same dynamics? If a group of committed people
want to drive it forward, what is lost? No one has suggested that it is
taking us away from a currently ongoing better way of doing it, or that if
it succeeds it will undermine the rest of XML. I see XML-DEV as a way of
encouraging collaborative efforts whether or not they finally succeed "in
the market place". Personally I will use the results of FOP and do what
little I can to support it. 

But then I spend most of my time near windmills.


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