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Repost: Re: `High-level' format specifications with XSL?

Subject: Repost: Re: `High-level' format specifications with XSL?
From: Sean Mc Grath <digitome@xxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 2 Jul 1998 16:21:27 +0100
high level format
Sorry if this comes through twice. I sent it some time
ago and have not seen it boomerang yet.

[Kai Grossjohann]

>I use and love LaTeX because it allows me to `semantically' mark up a
>document and let the computer worry about making it look good.  I just
>tell it I want a section with the following heading, and LaTeX
>produces the right amount of spacing and the right font weight and
>size for the heading and so on, to make the output look good.
>I'd like to use something similar for XSL.

Your point gets to the heart of the formatting Vs transformation
conundrum. The scenario you describe can
be addressed by an SGML->SGML transformation following by a formatting
phase. The transformation phase maps the elements you have to the elements with
the required display semantics. I.e. <MySection> -> <H1> and so on.
The formatting phase, maps the <H1> to whatever "canned" or user defined
display semantics are associated with it.

But looked at another way, the scenario you descibe is a single formatting
phase mapping your SGML elements to high level flow objects such as H1 etc.

Although you cannot say to DSSSL "Create a Level 1 heading according to
the XXX Scientific Journal display sematics or the HTML display semantics"
you *can* say to DSSSL (actually Jade) "Create a H1 element", "Create a TABLE
element" etc. using the SGML back-end.

So in a weird way, Jade goes beyond TeX macro packages such as LaTex by
allowing the generation of arbitrary SGML outputs and thus arbitrarily
higher level flow objects ISO 12083, DocBook etc.

I think the SGML/XML world could do with a whole bunch of standard
DTDs for Scientific Publishing, Contracts, Memoranda etc. etc. that
unashamedly specify their display sematics. Then users of SGML/XML
could piggy-back on these back-ends by doing SGML-SGML transformations.


Sean Mc Grath - http://www.digitome.com/sean.htm
XML by Example:Building E-Commerce Applications 
ParseMe.1st - SGML for Software Developers

 XSL-List info and archive:  http://www.mulberrytech.com/xsl/xsl-list

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