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Re: SGML on the Web

what xslt importance
> On Fri, Oct 04, 2002 at 01:08:57PM -0400, Simon St.Laurent wrote:
> > XML directly on the Web seems to have fallen victim to the notion
> > that XML needed a transformative style approach, missing the easy 
> > opportunity that CSS provided for document display and requiring
> > people to use  XSLT. That notion has also provided Microsoft with
> > plenty of cover for their (non-)approach to XML in the browser,
> > which may have successfully kept XML off the ordinary Web.
> Yes, but as you say, XML needs a transformative approach 

Huh?  I didn't endorse that approach by any means.  Such an approach may
be useful, but I'd call "needed" an overstatement, and it certainly came
with costs as well as benefits.

> -- a way of  turning an XML format into a Java Class (e.g. WSDL ->
> SOAP proxy).

That may be what you need.  I think that path has been disastrous for
XML generally, however.

> You can't do that if your only concern is document display, or your
> only tool is CSS.  Remember that XML was meant to live outside of the
> web, too.

My point is that such notions have kept XML from ever making its way on
to the Web.

> ISTR the "FO Considerd Harmful" argument as something completely
> different.  Michael Leventhal made the case that FO was a very
> inappropriate document format for the browser.  Furthermore, anything
> that could be done with FO would be done with less effort (and less
> vapour) with HTML+CSS+JavaScript.
> I think the problem with Michael's argument was that FO wasn't
> intended to be rendered in a browser like HTML.  Furthermore, FO
> was expected to be the output of some program (like an XSL
> transformation), rather than hand-coded.  FO was designed specifically
> to handle print media, not the browser.  Years later, it's obvious
> that these "problems" with FO were just a misunderstanding of the
> intent.  It was never put forth as a verbose replacement for HTML.

I disagree.  FO has proven in the end to be primarily aimed at print,
but that was far from clear initially.

> Overall, I think XSLT is quite successful.  I'd go so far as to say
> that XSLT's importance is second only to XML (then again, I'm quite
> biased). 

I'm not contesting the success of XSLT, only that its contribution to
the success of XML on the Web is questionable at best.  While it has
certainly made some contribution, it's also put off a lot of the people
I thought most likely to take advantage of XML in Web development.

Simon St.Laurent - SSL is my TLA
http://simonstl.com may be my URI
http://monasticxml.org may be my ascetic URI
urn:oid: is another possibility altogether


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