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If we're talking about a document format to replace MS word documents,
we need much more than XHTML. XHTML holds the content of the document
and provides (some) semantic information about that content. To
replicate what a word doc can do and does do for most users, you have to
also specify how it's going to display and probably provide some
information to the application about how the editing experience should
So maybe XHTML + CSS + XForms could do it.
I'm not sure what I would gain by limiting myself to XHTML. Simple
documents are fine in XHTML, possibly with some number of (possibly
partially intersecting) embedded microformat conventions. But to use
XHTML to represent the semantics of a complex document is burdensome
compared to a purpose built schema.
I'm delighted with CSS. There are definitely times when display
requirements can't be satisfied and I need an intermediate XSL
transformation as well, but that's usually when the final output isn't
known at authoring time, and no word processing document format that I
know of deals with the unknown any better.
Put all this together and my ability to use XML in the CMS and transform
it for display is something I'm quite happy with. The really big
barrier right now is my inability to send XML out to users and have them
edit it in a way that grants both of us sanity. XForms is exciting but
incomplete and poorly supported. If anyone has an end-user (read: "good
looking and dummy proof") authoring solution they are happy with let me
know because I'm super motivated to find something.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Robert Koberg [mailto:email@example.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, November 29, 2005 7:16 AM
> To: Peter Hunsberger
> Cc: Bullard, Claude L (Len); firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: Re: [xml-dev] Common Word Processing Format
> Peter Hunsberger wrote:
> > On 11/29/05, Bullard, Claude L (Len)
> <email@example.com> wrote:
> >>Spy Vs Spy aside for the moment, and following the thought
> experiment at Tim
> >>Bray's blog:
> >>How much of a common word processing format subset is
> represented by HTML?
> >>How much isn't? How much could be added by namespaced behaviors?
> >>IOW, don't we have one of these?
> > Interesting question. Early in my career I spent a lot of time with
> > SGML. Given that the target in those days was document publishing I
> > don't think there where many constructs missing that Word
> it it's kin
> > would possess with the exception of behaviours. When HTML
> came along
> > I was first surprised that so many of the SGML constructs
> had made it
> > into the spec. but there where also times when I found
> things missing
> > that I sort of wanted.
> > How much is missing? I bet I have an IBM SGML reference card in my
> > attic somewhere, building the feature checklist would be easy...
> > However, the need for macros and behaviours would be all new (to
> > standardised HTML), so although it might be a good starting point, I
> > somehow doubt that it's the end point? I suspect you're still going
> > to have some battles to win before any new standard emerges.
> <object .../>
> <link .../>
> <script .../>
> handle anything not explicitly definied?
> I don't get the push for ODF. I don't get why XHTML isn't all
> you need
> for a common document format. Transforming configuration and
> content to
> XHTML makes much more sense to me. Keeping styling info in a separate
> and app/site wide file makes much more sense to me.
> > <snip/>
> > --
> > Peter Hunsberger
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