Re: XML + (XSL | CSS) ?

Subject: Re: XML + (XSL | CSS) ?
From: Alain DESEINE <alain@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 14 May 1998 22:17:10 +0200
Daniel Glazman wrote:
> Hello there,
> I read last proposals for CSS linking into XML and wonder if this is
> going to be a danger for XSL or not... Well, in fact, I think it is
> a danger for XSL and would like to have your opinion :
> XSL is, even if I am enthusiastic about embedding styles into a XML
> formalism, a complex specification and I doubt that all the audience
> who hardly understands some difficult concepts in CSS will be able to
> produce XSL quickly.

I Guess you are right ! But what did you think about C language
programmers versus VB programmers for example. I mean, if you take a
comparison between Stylesheet language and programming language, you
must also say :

"Why use c language if i can use Visual basic" 

In some case perhaps will it be right to say that, but in many other
case using a more complex language will be more convenient.

> Major software vendors have now quite good CSS solutions and XSL spec
> is only on the way. On the other hand, customers can be divided in three
> groups : those who want to exchange XSL fragments between apps, those
> who want to add XSL to their existing SGML documents set first XMLized,
> and those who want only XML on the Web. Some may appear in two or all
> of these groups.

As you say XSL Spec are only on the way. XSL is a baby, but a beautiful
baby. So we have to wait for implementations of the Spec, and i think we
will have many interresting XSL tools in a very short time. I'm
currently working on this sort of tools, and as i think we live in the
same country, you will got it in french too.

> The two major concepts that are in the public XSL spec and not in CSS are the
> target-element notion and the construction rules. But construction rules
> with a CSS formalism are also possible : believe me, I've done it...
> And target-elements are not in CSS because it has not been discussed yet (am I
> wrong ?).
> So :
>   - those who want to exchange XML fragments : do they really need XSL ?
>   - those who have large structured documents sets : what will be the
>     cost of XSLization ? Isn't CSS much cheaper and in many
>     easy cases much easier to implement ? Are construction rules
>     worth so much ?
>   - web writers : if major software vendors don't provide wysiwig *and*
>     simple authoring tools that writers can use w/o knowledge of XSL,
>     I am sure that people will use CSS because it is easier to write, to
>     read, to modify, to understand and because most of the time they
>     don't need more... And it is more easy to 'notepad' it.
>     Well, ask a newbie to read the two CSS and XSL equivalent examples
>     coming from section 4 of the spec and ask him to tell which one he
>     understands immediately.
> Furthermore, CSS 2 include a specificity algorithm based on a
> lexicographical sort on triplets when XSL introduces a sort on
> octuplets (what about dsssl ? I've always thought its algo is based on
> triplets) !  This section in the actual working draft is even more
> complex... In CSS most end-users (and most of my company's end-users)
> won't care about priority and specificity, will design simple sheets
> and won't care at all about possible conflicts. This is just reality,
> not my imagination : people understand the selectors and declarations
> mechanisms and don't read the rest of the spec. This is normal, this
> is enough for 98% of users. If the XSL specificty is more complex than
> the CSS one, who will read it and use it ?
> I have at this point to modify a bit my first paragraph : I think that
> CSS linking to XML is a danger for XSL because the complexity of XSL
> can be a danger for itself.

I think that CCS is not a danger for XSL. You can do many things in XSL
that CSS can't at this time. but the problem is not here, about
discussing if CSS is better than XSL or not. I think that both can be
used in different case. I also think that CSS designers will easily
authoring XSL stylesheet because XSL know CSS caracteristics. I think
that XSL is another way to embed style in XML files. As we can build a
window application with many deifferent language (Visual Basic, C
language, etc.), it's normal to have many Stylesheet language. Plus, in
certain case, you **need** XSL for example if you need to do some
calculation based on attributes values to present data to the end user,
i think that XSL will be very usefull. If you want you can check this
URL (with IE4) (sorry for
internationnal user but i haven't translate this page in english yet).
It's an xml application wich present to the user recipes, and for each
recipes the XSL style sheet add calories from all the ingredients, and
the divide the result by the portion number of the recipe, to present
the calorie number for one portion. Doing this with XSL is quite simple.


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