Re: Formatting Objects considered harmful
XSL List-- Despite a real interest (this is just the kind of "soft" problem I feel comfortable with) and wanting to interject more than once, I haven't posted on "XSL Formatting Objects Considered Harmful." But I just got a pointer to a ZDNet story, which suggests that the concerns of this thread may soon be of more than casual interest, at least to U.S. implementors: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2243282-1,00.html ZDNet won't let me paste out, but the the paraphrase I received (in a bulletin from NINCH, the National Institute for a Networked Cultural Heritage at http://www.ninch.org ) reads: > The Government will shortly unveil new requirements under the > Americans With Disabilities Act for the Web sites of companies > doing business with government agencies. Similar requirements > will shortly affect all of us operating online. It is hard to know what such guidelines and requirements would cover; taken to its logical conclusion, however, the disabilities issue would imply the _universal_ deployment (at least as far as "companies doing business with goverment agencies" are concerned) of a set of abstract FO's with richer semantics and cross-media descriptive capabilities than layout-oriented <xsl:block> or <DIV> elements. It is certainly worth asking who the government thinks should design these, and how they are to be standardized across platforms -- not to mention how this requirement is to be reconciled with the idea of a "semantic web." Can we have our cake and eat it too? Personally I don't think of Formatting Objects delivered to the client as evil in themselves: it simply depends on what kind of functionality you want to empower at the receiving end, and in this the deliverer of the information will always be able to take the upper hand (except when it comes to paying the bill). Rather than focussing on FOs as such (as others have said), we should focus on the critical issue, the behavioral semantics available to the client (whether hardwired in browsers, supplemented with scripts, or merely potential), how these are to be known, and how FOs work as an instrument to this end. This is what providers and users of information at the high end will be negotiating so fiercely. (And I include impecunious XML/web developers at the high end. Don't fool yourself: in this world, being a member of the techno-elite counts for alot.) Onward and upward--! Wendell Piez ====================================================================== Wendell Piez mailto:wapiez@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Mulberry Technologies, Inc. http://www.mulberrytech.com 17 West Jefferson Street Direct Phone: 301/315-9635 Suite 207 Phone: 301/315-9631 Rockville, MD 20850 Fax: 301/315-8285 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Mulberry Technologies: A Consultancy Specializing in SGML and XML ====================================================================== XSL-List info and archive: http://www.mulberrytech.com/xsl/xsl-list
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