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Re: [xml-dev] XML and CSS

Jesper Tverskov wrote:
> I think PrinceXML is a good example of when XML+CSS can be useful. But
> except that we have files like RSS, I find it a bad idea to use CSS to
> style XML for the web to make it look like HTML/XHTML.
> The browsers don't have a default stylesheet to use. When you use
> XHTML you only need to style what you want to be different from the
> default stylesheet in the browser. When styling your own XML you must
> style everything yourself.

Given the popularity of 'reset' stylesheets in HTML, I'm not sure that's 
actually a problem for the kinds of developers who'd be likely to use 
XML this way.  "Styling everything yourself" is a feature, not a bug, 
for many people.

> Also search engines benefit from a known markup language like XHTML:
> Headings, paragraphs, lists, tables, making it easier to put special
> importance to content, judged from how it is marked-up. Using your own
> markup, it is much more difficult for a search engine like Google to
> tell headings, tables, lists, etc, apart.

It is indeed more difficult, though of course the irony is that one of 
the early promises of XML was that it would make more sophisticated 
search easier.

(Though in Google's case, I'm not sure how much HTML semantics it's 
really using - originally the answer was "almost none, just text and 
links" because of people gaming search engines, but I understand that's 
changed over time.)

> Also screen readers used by blind people, etc, read the source code.
> Homegrown markup, making sense when displayed with CSS in a browser,
> is meaningless in a screen reader not knowing when to announce
> "title", "ordered list of 5 items", heading, table, etc, to make a
> webpage easier to understand when read aloud.

This is true and important but not difficult to solve.  Screen reader 
developers haven't been especially enthusiastic about interpreting the 
information that CSS provides, but it's possible.  Perhaps more 
practical would be CSS properties that map to a limited number of 
screen-reader types, though that's a conversation that goes around and 

None of these are impossible barriers.  XML just never achieved the 
momentum in this space to make them worth climbing.

Simon St.Laurent

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