Re: Heresy? Re: DSSSL WWW Enhancements

Subject: Re: Heresy? Re: DSSSL WWW Enhancements
From: lex@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx (Alex Milowski)
Date: Mon, 19 May 1997 10:45:11 -0500 (CDT)
> > I don't see how you will be able to fit all of the Scheme functional style
> > into "some other syntax".  It would seem to me that the goal for any
> > DSSSL-oriented developer for the mass market should be a good front-end.
> These are two separate issues, at least for me.
> A good front end is obviously very important -- but it's quite hard, too.
> If you've ever used ML, you'll know that there are other possible syntaxes
> that can be as complete.

Ok, I'll buy that.

> > The argument against a lisp-like style is rather weak in my book.  I use
> > perl all the time and *live* with the hacker`s syntax (excuse me, all you
> > perl zealots).  DSSSL can be quite elegant and clear.
> Well, if you're aiming at the ``DesperatePerl Hacker', there seem to
> be advantages in a more perl-like (or more C-like) syntax.

Perl no.  Java yes.  We want a *clean* expression language.  I can agree
with this assessment.

> Are you (or I) the intended XML style sheet writer?

No, we are not.  I agree with this as well.  Unfortunately, we have very little
knowledge of who these people are and what their skill level is.  I suspect
that we have a *wide* range of individuals from the most entry-level person
to experienced typesetters.  

> > This should be our goal for extending DSSSL--simple clear descriptions
> > of what should be done--not a change of syntax.
> Actually my response in the message you quoted probably makes me seem
> more strongly in favour of it thatn I meant to sound.  I *am* in favour
> of a langauge that appeals to the C/perl/java/web/CSS crowd, not least
> because the no. 1 goal of XML is and has always been SGML on the web.

Ok.  Again, I ask, what is it that we want to gain by changing the syntax?
If it is market acceptance, I can understand this.  I question right now
whether anyone is complaining about DSSSL and Scheme.  That could change if
we want to make DSSSL the XML style sheet standard.

If we say that the DSSSL syntax is the best technology and the W3C, the XML
working group, and ISO are behind it for *good* reasons, how can one argue?

I've heard again and again about people who want to change SGML's syntax--they
think it is ugly for some reason.  They want it to look more like lisp or more
like C, or more like...  The syntax was preserved because it was chosen
for particular reasons and changing for "because I like it better" wasn't a
good enough reason.  

So, to really evaluate a change of syntax, what are the benefits?

R. Alexander Milowski   alex@xxxxxxxxxx
Copernican Solutions Incorporated                  (612) 379 - 3608

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