Re: SGML/XML syntax for DSSSL

Subject: Re: SGML/XML syntax for DSSSL
From: "Mitch C. Amiano" <amiamc@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 19 May 1997 09:47:27 -0400
For what it's worth...

I'm a unix-bred programmer, have used Sed, Egrep, and Make extensively, 
and Perl just makes me want to Gawk. Sed, AWK, and Make (and variants)
support some form of declarative programming, and each has it's own
syntax.  Yet another flakey syntax won't do the programming community 
any harm. Some programmers may turn to it just for a change of pace. I'd 
argue that most Joe and Jane users will be unwilling to commit time and
brain cells to a new syntax, even if the tool has been (as
 available for decades.

That suggests using a syntax that at the highest level of perusal is 
cosmetically similar to HTML, and it probably should be XML compliant. 
This would give it an added advantage over CSS, in providing, at least
for a casual user, "one syntax" to learn. 

A similar problem is faced by RAD development environment vendors. The
usually provided is similar: a "syntaxless" interface which
to a serialized representation of objects and scopes, and a programming
which is edited directly using your favorite text editor. This
convergence could 
be due to to a total lack of creativity, but it could also be because
it's a 
best-fit design given the available technology, and know-how, and OO
biases of 
the market.

RE: James' suggestions:
> <element name=WARN>
>   <paragraph font-size=12pt font-family-name=Times-Roman
> first-line-start-indent=20pt>
>     <chars font-weight=bold>WARN</chars>
>     <children>
>   </paragraph>
> </element>
> is quite natural.

I agree, with the reasoning stated above. Further, as a (presumably)
document, it should be amenable to processing by a variety of SGML and
XML tools.
> I think this stops being natural when you start trying to doing programming.
> But for this, an alternative syntax seems less important to me: the fact
> that you have to program in a functional way is a far bigger leap for a
> C/C++/Java programmer than is the syntax.

The perception of having to "program" at all will be a more significant

I'll go back to lurking now, but, for the sake of clarification, is this
about an application-of/front-end-for DSSSL, or a variation of DSSSL

Mitch C. Amiano, Technical Staff Member
Advanced Design Process Group, 1630 Hardware Department
Alcatel Network Systems
2912 Wake Forest Road, Raleigh, NC 27609 USA
919 850 1246

Opinions expressed are my own and are not a representation of Alcatel

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