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Re: [xml-dev] XML support in browsers?

Elliotte Harold wrote:
> XSLT failed to take off on the Web for one reason and one reason only:
> Microsoft Internet Explorer's failure (continuing to this day) to
> properly implement the standard. Had it been possible to use XSLT
> directly on the client side, we'd be working with a very different Web
> today.

And if Microsoft hadn't fiddled with Java we'd be using applets today?

> No, XSLT was not a perfect fit for the Web as it exists today, but it
> was a damn sight better than anything else we had in 1999, HTML, CSS,
> and JavaScript included. 

Interesting theory, but you seem to be forgetting that FO never went 
anywhere at all in web browsers, and that XSLT would have generated 
HTML+CSS in that absence, which I don't think has proven to be a 
compelling idea even in more recent years.

> Had XSLT not been blocked by Microsoft, the
> other pieces of the puzzle would have fallen into place. 

Wow!  That's actually a much bigger claim than I've ever heard anyone 
make about XML's failure to reach the Web it aimed for.  I don't think 
it's remotely true, but it's so large a claim that arguing against it 
feels like arguing against a revolution everyone longs for but never 
seems to come.  I'd probably have to write magical realist stories to do 
it justice.

> Search
> engines would have learned to index raw XML, and browser vendors would
> eventually have worked around the W3C's inevitable stasis,
> bureaucracy, and disregard for actual users

While I rarely find the W3C as exciting as its promoters, I also find 
your vision of browser vendors in charge only modestly compelling.  The 
W3C contributes its share of stasis, but developers and especially users 
(who won't upgrade browsers like the crazy early adopters they obviously 
aren't) contribute as well.  Historically, browser vendors (and not just 
Microsoft) have had a share as well. Opera wasn't particularly 
enthusiastic about adding XSLT, for instance.

 > as they now have with HTML
 > 5 and JavaScript.

JavaScript seems to me to be thriving now in large part because it was 
ignored, and only tinkered with around the edges.  Recent pushes for 
major change seem to have fallen back.  HTML 5's story is yet to be 
written, so I'd be cautious in forecasting its triumph.  (I expect it'll 
come, perhaps in bits and pieces, but I don't think it's the revolution 

Simon St.Laurent

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