OASIS Mailing List ArchivesView the OASIS mailing list archive below
or browse/search using MarkMail.


Help: OASIS Mailing Lists Help | MarkMail Help



   Re: [xml-dev] xsl-fo

[ Lists Home | Date Index | Thread Index ]

On Sat, Nov 09, 2002 at 08:19:19PM -0500, Empowering You wrote:
> I really like the idea of using the xml formatting language xsl-fo, or
> as I think it might now be called, xsl; instead of using cascading style
> sheets.

Hmm ... from the way you phrase that, I'm guessing you're just now
becoming acquainted with XSL. I'd be interested to know what you think
the advantages of XSL-FO are ... but the point is moot, since browsers
don't support it. To give you an extremely condensed history, XSL was
originally supposed to be a means of formatting documents for both
online and print documents, using formatting objects. But early
implementers discovered that, for online documents, it was much simpler
to generate HTML directly using the initial transformation phase of XSL,
skipping the formatting objects entirely. This approach gained
widespread support, so the W3C gave in to the inevitable and split XSL
into XSLT and XSL-FO.

In retrospect, I think most people would say that the split was a wise
decision. XSLT has rapidly matured and has proven to be one of the most
valuable tools in the XMList's repertoire, while XSL-FO has languished.

In a way I guess it's sad. I personally think XSL-FO is cool. But then,
I thought DSSSL was cool too (if that's a new acronym for you, well, I'd
really rather not try to explain DSSSL just now--it was a formatting
language for SGML that was very influential in the design of XSL). The
trouble is that with XSLT available, there is no point in using XSL-FO
for Web-only documents. So XSL-FO really only makes sense for print
documents. But not all print documents: for, say, trade books and glossy
magazines, you need finer control over the output than XSL can give you.

Then there's the notion of publishing the same content in both print and
online formats, for which XSL-FO may be the best tool available. And
certainly it's something that people do from time to time. But this
approach only makes sense for certain types of documents, because in
general people read very differently on line than they do in print.
Hence, even if you are putting the same content on line and in a printed
book, the optimal information architecture for the online version will
be very different from the print version, so you often can't use a
single stylesheet for both.

> I don't believe Microsoft is supporting it in the .NET
> programming environment, yet I believe it is a generally accepted
> standard.

Well, it's generally accepted that XSL-FO is a W3C "standard" (quotes
because the W3C specs are never officially given the name "standard").
I'm not sure it's quite so generally accepted as a worthwhile

Also, note that Microsoft does support XSLT. The MSXML parser has had
standard XSLT support for over two years (though they never shipped that
with IE until version 6).

> Any idea why Microsoft isn't supporting fo?  Do they intend
> to support it soon or not at all?

Perhaps XSL-FO is irrelevant to the goals of .NET. I'm probably not the
best person to ask, though ... being firmly in the rabid anti-Microsoft
camp, I have learned as little about .NET as I can get away with.
However, since Microsoft was one of the very first vendors to implement
XSLT, and they haven't yet implemented XSL-FO, it is probably safe to
say they don't intend to.

Anyway, if you want to get more into XSLT or XSL-FO, you should visit
Mulberry Technologies (www.mulberrytech.com). They have some good XSL
information, and also host the XSL mailing list.


Matt Gushee                 When a nation follows the Way,
Englewood, Colorado, USA    Horses bear manure through
mgushee@havenrock.com           its fields;
http://www.havenrock.com/   When a nation ignores the Way,
                            Horses bear soldiers through
                                its streets.
                            --Lao Tzu (Peter Merel, trans.)

  • References:
    • xsl-fo
      • From: "Empowering You" <pam@empoweringyou.com>


News | XML in Industry | Calendar | XML Registry
Marketplace | Resources | MyXML.org | Sponsors | Privacy Statement

Copyright 2001 XML.org. This site is hosted by OASIS