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Re: Conversion between table models

At 08:47 PM 8/17/2001 +0900, Michael Smith wrote:
>FWIW, it should be pointed out that the full CALS table model has
>basically been obsoleted by the OASIS Exchange Table Model and XML
>Exchange Table Model subsets:
>  http://www.oasis-open.org/specs/tablemodels.shtml
>...which I think are in part intended to do away with many of the
>"idiosyncratic and complex things that usually are bad typesetting
>practice and almost never can be presented effectively on-screen".

Good point.

>Maybe another thing to consider is existing transformation support,
>especially for taking tables to print. You might save some time by
>taking a look at the modular DocBook stylesheets.[1] Those support
>transformation of CALS tables/Exchange model subset to HTML and to
>print (via both DSSSL and XSL-FO). (The default model in DocBook 4.1
>is full CALS, with a PE switch provided for using the Exchange model
>instead. But the default in DocBook 5.0 will be the Exchange model).

Another good point.  I've found Norm's DSSSL and XSLT transformations
to be an excellent starting point for styling customizations overall,
including the tables support.

>Note that if you go the XSL-FO route, maybe it won't matter much which
>table model you use, because none of the widely-used XML-FO->PDF/print
>engines (open source or commercial) seem to be able to get tables
>right yet. (I've heard Arbortext's XSL-FO implementation works better,
>but they offer no downloadable demos, so it's hard to try it out.)

I think RenderX's XEP does a fine job.  Earlier this year they added
support for proportional column widths.  Column alignment was not
working right last I looked, but there are at least work-arounds.
I've found them to be responsive to issues when raised.

>Matthias, the other thing you mention -- "a PDF-oriented table
>model/approach" -- I don't think it's clear how you mean to relate
>that to XML-based authoring (not clear to me at least.)
>[1] http://docbook.sourceforge.net/projects/xsl/
>    http://docbook.sourceforge.net/projects/dsssl/
>Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com> writes:
>> At 12:05 PM 16/08/01 +0200, Matthias Fischer wrote:
>> >I have to decide according to which table model my company wants our
>> >customers to produce XML data. Basically, we would prefer CALS tables, but
>> >FO prefers   at least, this is the way it appears to me at the moment   a
>> >PDF-oriented approach.
>> <opinion class="religious">
>> The HTML table model is inherently better.  The only things that
>> CALS can do that HTML can't are idiosyncratic and complex things
>> that usually are bad typesetting practice and almost never can
>> be presented effectively on-screen.
>> I've often thought that HTML per se was a pretty ordinary
>> document markup language.  The table model is the exception;
>> it's comprehensible, flexible, powerful, and just kind of
>> generally does what you need.
>> </opinion>
>> <question class="genuine-interest">Why on earth would you want to 
>> use the CALS table model?</question> -Tim
>> -----------------------------------------------------------------
>Michael Smith          mailto:smith@xml-doc.org
>xml-doc                http://www.xml-doc.org/
>see also: Logopoeia    http://www.logopoeia.com/

Kenneth J. Hughes                                        kjh@entel.com
Entelechy Corporation                            http://www.entel.com/