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   Re: [xml-dev] Future of XSL-FO at W3C??

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At 2002-10-17 12:11 +0300, m batsis wrote:
>But since you are talking about requierements, FO is far too complex and 
>verbose for no apparent reason (in my eyes at least).

Then I personally think you are missing something.

>Instead of duplicating the semantics of CSS in XML syntax, it should have 
>been using CSS directly for the same reasons XPath expressions are not 
>written as XML.

The reasons are not the same at all in my eyes.

XPath expressions are known a priori and are composed into single attribute 
values for brevity ... there is no need to manipulate individual steps of 
XPath location paths during the process of a transformation.

However, in the process of specifying formatting properties, the tweaking 
of individual properties and the newly introduced subproperties (components 
of a property, such as space-before.conditionality='retain' which I need 
periodically) would not be feasible if the property specification were a 
CSS-style-like long single string of multiple components.

The design of XSLT 1.0 was made simpler by not having the string 
manipulation required for pulling apart and putting together of a 
CSS-style-like property string ... XSLT is a node tree manipulation tool, 
not an angle-bracket and string manipulation tool.  Treating property 
specifications as individual attribute nodes fits well in the entire 
processing model of the two specifications designed to work together.

I cannot subscribe to your conclusion that "FO is far too complex and 
verbose" ... it is but a hierarchical node tree expression of the semantics 
to apply to the contained content ... and XML is the best way there is to 
express hierarchies ... and lengthy multi-property CSS-style-like attribute 
expressions are not at all hierarchical.

>Just my quarter of a euro.

I think your debate is far more worthwhile than this, though I don't agree 
with your conclusions.

Our XSL-FO students come to our courses with many such preconceived 
notions, so I'm anxious to help people understand that XSL-FO is far 
simpler than they may think.  The XSL-FO book we sell from our web site has 
a freely downloadable preview with the complete text of the introductory 
chapters and all annexes:

   Practical Formatting Using XSL-FO
   (Extensible Stylesheet Language Formatting Objects)
   Third Edition - 2002-09-05 - ISBN 1-894049-10-1
   Copyright (c) 2002 Crane Softwrights Ltd.
   / 396 Pages / Subscription price includes free updates,
   /           / soft-copy of included examples, and an
   /           / accessible rendition and 10 PDF renditions.
   /           / Free 206-page download preview excerpt.

The PDF book is extensively hyperlinked both internally as well as out to 
the HTML of the Recommendation itself (the book is in effect an alternative 
way of walking through the W3C document itself since you can jump to the 
Recommendation from within the book).  The free download includes the 

I hope this is considered helpful.

...................... Ken

G. Ken Holman               mailto:gkholman@CraneSoftwrights.com
Crane Softwrights Ltd.        http://www.CraneSoftwrights.com/x/
Box 266, Kars, Ontario CANADA K0A-2E0  +1(613)489-0999 (F:-0995)
ISBN 0-13-065196-6                     Definitive XSLT and XPath
ISBN 0-13-140374-5                             Definitive XSL-FO
ISBN 1-894049-08-X Practical Transformation Using XSLT and XPath
ISBN 1-894049-10-1             Practical Formatting Using XSL-FO
Next public training:          2002-12-08,2003-02-03,06,03-03,06


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