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Re: syntax feedback

Subject: Re: syntax feedback
From: "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 10:30:58 -0500
simon simon camaro
At 06:38 AM 12/14/98 -0600, Paul Prescod wrote:
>"Simon St.Laurent" wrote:
>> 
>> The W3C has made some very strange moves, but putting CSS and XSL into
>> direct competition is one of the strangest.  
>
>They are not in competition. I admit that XSL is much more complex and
>thus will not be as popular among low-end stylists as CSS will be. CSS's
>inventors admit that CSS is much less powerful and thus *cannot solve* the
>problems that XSL is designed to solve. They are no more in competition
>than HTML and XML or a Chevy Metro and a Chevy Camaro. 

Thank you for comparing my style sheet language of choice to a Metro.  I'd
prefer that you referred to CSS as a (new) Volkswagen Beetle, and XSL as a
Combine (heavy-duty farm equipment) of whatever brand you link.

>> I fear it may hobble both, as
>> developers struggle over which to support with the most resources.  XSL is
>> more 'powerful' in that it provides transformation, but otherwise I'm
>> afraid it's not that exciting - unless you've had experience with the tools
>> that have inspired its particular direction of development.
>
>"Other than the fact that it goes really fast, the Camaro isn't very much
>more interesting than the Metro." If you need a fast car (e.g. to satisfy
>your ego or to catch Bad Guys) then you don't really have any choice and
>thus there isn't any competition.

There's plenty of competition for development resources, I'm afraid.
Microsoft seems to have the money to pour into both XSL and CSS, but for
the rest of the world, supporting both is a difficult task.

>XSL is the third standard stylesheet technology to be used by the generic
>markup world. The first one failed because it did not allow
>transformations. CSS was never even a contender because it did not do
>transformations.
>...
>XSL people cannot use CSS except as an adjunct to XSL. If you need
>transformation, then you don't really have any choice about whether to use
>CSS or XSL and there is also no competition. CSS can't even handle a
>simple cross-reference (nor should it be extended to! It's good at what it
>does)

I'm glad I missed whatever the first spec was.  'CSS was never even a
contender because it did not do transformations'. So why not build a
transformation engine and layer CSS on top of it?

What is it about XML that encourages the development of standards which
mash together multiple layers of processing?  Why not keep transformation
in one box, and formatting in the other, and let people who need both just
use both layers?

That way, you'd avoid all of this sniping between the different style sheet
communities, give developers a clear path on which to build, and make it a
lot easier to move documents from one world (without transformations) to
another (with transformations) without having to reinvent the wheel each time.

>According to our own informal survey, these technologies are not in
>contention, direct or otherwise. They are complementary.

Who is 'our'?  Just curious.

Simon St.Laurent
XML: A Primer / Cookies
Sharing Bandwidth 
Building XML Applications (February)
http://www.simonstl.com


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