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   Re: [xml-dev] Microsoft Hypes Up XUL As The Greatest ExpirimentSince Ada

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At 10:50 AM -0500 10/28/03, Gerald Bauer wrote:

>   Well, my point was that Microsoft doesn't care about
>standards and blissfully ignores CSS and reinvents the
>wheel to take full control.

Windows is more than an OS,. It's an OS and a GUI and an API. I 
suspect Microsoft sees the GUI and API as core to what they do. I 
can't imagine they'd give up control of this, any more than GM would 
adopt an industry standard engine.  This is why Microsoft freaked out 
over Java and over Netscape. They could see the GUI and API slipping 
away from them.

I also suspect that as one of the few players able to promulgate a 
GUI and an API, they can't see limiting themselves to be part of the 
community. If you're a small fish who can't afford to design and 
market your own GUI and API it may make sense to compromise with 
others. However, if you are capable of going it alone, you'll have 
much more control. You'll be able to accomplish much more than you 
could by adopting third party components.

>   As far as I know in SVG you can use either CSS style
>properties or full-blown XML attributes.

It depends on the specific CSS property, but in general, yes, you 
can. However, because both are allowed software has to handle both. 
You cannot rely on the data being in the easier to handle XML 
attribute form.

>   As far as XUL goes it's all in flux and adding
>full-blown XML attributes in addition to CSS style
>properties is just syntatic sugar and convenience and
>thus easy to addon.

It's easy to add on. It's not easy to process. Adding multiple ways 
of encoding the same information makes the system more complicated, 
not less. Syntax sugar leads to code decay. Four out of five dentists 
surveyed recommend sugar-free code for their patients who chew code.

It would be better to have just the CSS style attribute in XUL than 
to have both the style attribute and individual attributes like 
background and font-weight. It would be better not to have the style 
attribute at all and just have the individual attributes. As Simon 
and Eric point out, it might be best not to have styles in the main 
document at all.

>   Well, XUL already supports strutured labels that use
>XHTML for rich text and not some new markup language
>resembling XHTML.
>   For example:
>   <button>
>     <label><b>Hello</b></label>
>   </button>
>   Is perfectly legal in XUL
>   in XAML it's
>   <button>
>     <bold>Hello</bold>
>   </button>

Excellent! This is keeping with Item 23, Reuse XHTML for generic 
narrative content. A point in XUL's favor. Your original example did 
not make this clear.

>  Well, I wouldn't say that reinventing CSS, XHTML, XUL
>and SVG is the right thing to do.

I see no evidence they're reinventing CSS or SVG. What have they done 
here that bothers you?

>   The main point of XML is interoperability as far as
>I know. If you tell the world my way or the highway
>how is this true to the XML charter?

And the syntax vs. semantics thread rears its head again! I do not 
believe that interoperability requires standardizing one single 
vocabulary for a given domain. I'd be very surprised if XUL plausibly 
met Microosft's needs. I suspect they have their own unique, local 
requirements which they need their own application to handle. I think 
other non-Microsoft systems will need to transform the XAML data into 
their own local semantics. This won't be too hard to do as long as 
XAML uses XML as its basic syntax. Similarly, XUL documents will also 
need to be transformed to meet the needs of other applications that 
consume XUL data. However, it is much easier for me with my unique 
local needs to process XAML data than it is to process XUL data 
because XAML uses XML syntax and XUL uses XML+CSS.


   Elliotte Rusty Harold
   Effective XML (Addison-Wesley, 2003)


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