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

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> If a document / page / site is to be re-styled it is much easier, and more 
> efficient, to simply change an external CSS style sheet than to adjust 
> presentation attributes everywhere in a document.

If you were restyling the source document I'd agree, but how on earth do
you restyle the generated FO?  Pretty much everything in sight is an
fo:block so the only way to get a handle on it for css would be to
generate class attributes somewhere and restyling probably means
generating a different set of class attributes, so you'd still need to
go back and change your xslt stylesheet.

> I use SVG regularly and it is certainly much more efficient, when it comes to 
> site maintenance, to style SVG using external CSS than to use multiple style 
> attributes or individual styling properties.

but the main point of svg is to specify lines and curves and stuff. It
makes sense to css style them. Similarly xhtml specifies headings and
lists and other structural things, it makes sense to css style that.

But in fo everything (more or less) is an fo:block, there are no
headings or any other structural elements (admitedly there are tables
and lists) the primary point of an fo file is to specify whether some
chunk of text is to be formatted as a block or inline and to say what
its formatting properties are. In other words there is no extra
functionality that css can give. That's not to say you might not prefer
css on grounds of familiarity. If you are css formatting the result
of your xslt transformation what is to be gained by using fo at all?
why not just use an arbitrary element <x> together with suitable classes
and css style everything? I can see this makes sense in many situations,
not least you get it to render in a browser, but I can't see why you
want to do half the formatting by specifying fo properties and half by
specifying css rules, I do both but never at the same time.

> it seems to me that adding a facility for 
> external CSS style sheets to XSL-FO would be beneficial.

as I said before that is an implementation issue not one that requires a
change to the specs. If you want to css style your FO then css semantics
are specified for arbitrary XML thus necessarily including XSL FO, so
all you need do is persuade the implementors of your FO renderer to
implement CSS as well. (Or write a filter that CSS styles an FO document
by adding the FO attributes, so then you could use the css styling with
any FO renderer)


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