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OTOH, I was very happy to see the transformational
approach. Doctor Goldfarb had listed that as a
sine qua non in one of his presentations very early
in the game. I've never used XSL-FO. I don't do
high quality print systems and have been someone
who campaigned for simpler printing requirements
since well before the web. One had to be around
for the 1000dpi DoD requirements. It cost a lot
and made no sense in a world of cheap laser printers.
300 dpi was just fine, and even less when the
common screen resolution was 72-75 dpi. In short,
we were campaigning for hypertext systems even
when we were building raster page turners based on
them simplifying the information delivery and
bringing down costs. Eventually, I had to break
down and admit HTML was the best of the worst
solutions, and that almost everything else was worse.
BTW: before it starts, I don't claim that tranforms were
Goldfarb's idea, just that he had it in a presentation
I attended and it was one of those AHA moments for
me because the problems of remapping were well
understood but I had yet to see the need for DSSSL.
In other words, in a toolkit, it made enormous sense
to anyone who had to write scripts for conversion
work, and I'd done a lot of that.
I actually liked HyTime because a standard way to
express dynamic linking (linking with a timing
component) was on my mind. Then every version
got more complex and obscure and the pain started.
I finally had to buy Durand and deRose's book to
understand what was there. Otherwise, it has
some very elegant ideas of which, probably 10%
are useful in every day work, but the rest are
there when the ordinary suddenly turns extraordinary.
Also, I am with Tim Bray. <A href= works as is.
Leave it alone. When and if we start seeing
floating text menus and more retrograde GUI
controls in our systems, then we need to dust
off these old designs and see what is useful.
I don't know if it is useful to design yet
another presentation language. That feels
like MID IV. Nice design but it undoes too
much extant work just to get corner cases
into the mainstream. Well maybe. MID was
designed because the Navy wanted a notional
presentation system that met their requirements.
If you hear the term "common delivery platform",
it is the same idea as yet unsatisfied ten
years later. (Sure, they could use IE, but
that is a non-starter in a world that must
have inspected and provably correct code.)
To me, it seems fitful to make a link mean
goto or get AND is-a or has-a. It feels
like a zero abstraction: useful in the notation
but meaningless otherwise.
From: Simon St.Laurent [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
I'm not questioning that XML is useful, but I am questioning whether
"SGML on the Web" ever really figured out the Web. Given that we still
have friction between HTML and XML, manifested most recently as friction
between HLink and XLink, it seems worth asking.
> In hindsight it's easy to say "Oh yeah, of course you use XSLT for
> HTML output, and XSL-FO for print formats." But in, say, 1997 or -8
> there was no concept yet of XSLT as a separate transformation
> language. And considering what Len said about the old-timers'
> experience with web browsers, there may have been a degree of naivete
> about browser vendors' ability and willingness to support a new
> approach to document rendering.
Those are my memories as well.