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   Re: [xml-dev] XML, Rich Internet Apps

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AndrewWatt2000@aol.com writes:
>But why HTML at all? What can HTML do that SVG can't already do or
>won't very soon be able to do?
>And why is SVG likely to be key in this? We will need to communicate
>visually to summarise the huge volumes of data that we will be
>inundated with.

Right. Well, let's take a look at a commercial company (you like those,
right?) that has built much of its market on its early control of a
language that proved very useful for putting pictures and text on paper.

A PostScript interpreter is currently ordering my HP LaserJet 6MP to put
toner in particular patterns on paper. I'll be (proofreading) those
pages today.  The document being printed is at some level a collection
of pixels, but it's also a combination of text - Adobe spent an enormous
amount of effort on text-rendering algorithms - and pictures.  In this
particular case, the primary document comes from FrameMaker, with
illustrations from Freehand and Photoshop.

Adobe maintains a range of products that go well beyond PostScript (and

* Adobe Photoshop gives users pixel-by-pixel control over images, for
those cases where a formulaic rendering process isn't ideal. (Photos are
an obvious case.)  

* Adobe Illustrator originally was pretty much a human interface to
PostScript, and operates at text+lines->image.  Illustrator is a great
program in many ways, but it's not aimed at multi-page layout.
(Illustrations that go in other documents are an obvious use.)

* Adobe InDesign and Adobe FrameMaker (not to mention PageMaker) address
multi-page layout, though in fairly different ways.  InDesign is
oriented to custom layout by graphic designers, while FrameMaker is
oriented to large-scale document production with somewhat less concern
for fine-grained control over the position of snazzy design elements and
more concern for automation, regularity, etc.  In a lot of ways, these
tool act as integrators, combining photos, illustrations, and text.

I share some of your excitement about SVG, but hear your "let's forget
about XHTML and just use SVG" as painfully akin to "let's just use
Illustrator and never mind those page layout programs."  The
PostScript/SVG layer may be useful and occasionally critical, but there
are an enormous number of cases where I'd much rather address that layer
only when I need to do so explicitly, and prefer to use FrameMaker for
the bulk of the work.

There are occasions when I want to focus on SVG elements.  There are
practically no occasions when I want to focus on SVG to the exclusion of
XHTML.  I _can_ read and work with SVG and PostScript when I need to
(though my PostScript's accumulated eight years of rust), but I don't
think most cases demand my attention at that level.  It's useful stuff,
but there are an awful lot of cases where I'm much happier working with
XHTML (for the Web) or something like XSL-FO (if print-only is my

XML+CSS gets me part of the way there, but XHTML still does more, has a
much wider community of practitioners, and makes sense to me as a set of
tools oriented toward its particular medium.  SVG seems like something
that fits beautifully in that medium, but I don't seem SVG taking over
the medium.

Adobe's early genius was PostScript.  Adobe's wisdom was recognizing
that while PostScript is very cool, there are lots of other levels worth
Simon St.Laurent
Ring around the content, a pocket full of brackets
Errors, errors, all fall down!
http://simonstl.com -- http://monasticxml.org


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