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

Subject: Re: `High-level' format specifications with XSL?
From: Paul Prescod <papresco@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 09 Jul 1998 14:28:40 -0500
high level format
Paul Grosso wrote:
> Then it sounds like what you need to do is:
> 1.  define some XML document type definition with elements like 'heading'
>     and such--let's call this the MLPL (mid-level presentation language) DTD;
> 2.  define one or more XSL transformation specs that map your XML source
>     documents into an MLPL document;
> 3a. define one or more XSL stylesheets that map your MLPL documents into
>     flow objects and properties that can be processed by some tool into
>     something that some formatter can handle, and/or
> 3b. define one or more XSL transformation specs that map your MLPL documents
>     into HTML plus CSS that give you the desired view in a browser.
> Then running an XSL processor on your input document and the transformation
> spec developed in 2 above gives you the level of abstraction that I think you
> want, e.g., mapping input element types to headings.

Doesn't this all strike you as being substantially harder than merely
allowing flow objects to be constructed out of other flow objects, in the
way that LaTeX macros are constructed out of other LaTeX macros? Knuth
could easily have said the same thing about TeX, when people were asking
about how to build higher level abstractions in it: "Just use your
favourite programming language to convert from your high-level TeX-like
language to TeX."

Yes, you CAN work around this limitation in XSL (and DSSSL). But it is
still a limitation in each of those languages.

 Paul Prescod  - http://itrc.uwaterloo.ca/~papresco

"In general, as syntactic description becomes deeper, what appear to 
be semantic questions fall increasingly within its scope; and it is 
not entirely obvious whether or where one can draw a natural bound 
between grammar and 'logical grammar'."  - Noam Chomsky, 1963

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