RE: indentation (was Re: About the article)

Subject: RE: indentation (was Re: About the article)
From: "Didier PH Martin" <martind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 7 May 1999 07:50:58 -0400
HI Brandon,

experience (like XSL) could be built on top of the style language.
Ideally, I think languages like XSL (and others, possibly) would be
built to encapsulate and abstract the functionality and power of
DSSSL, such that you'd use XSL via an interpreter that would sit on
top of a DSSSL engine.

There is no needs to do that. In fact, XSL can potentially _replace_ DSSSL.
Most XSL engine, will be implementing the first module called XSLT. Most of
them will also allow transformation form XML to HTML. The engines do not
need DSSSL because it can be hooked directly on the HTML DOM. On the other
hand, XSLF bring formatting objects to XSLT. These formatting objects are,
up to now, as much complete as DSSSL formatting objects. Actually there is
only one implementation (from James Tauber) that maps XSLF objects to PDF.
This last implementation do not use at all DSSSL. Briefly, there is _no_
_need_ _at_ _all_ _to_ _use_ _DSSSL_ for any XSLF implementation. In fact,
it is better not to because this would imply a very slow XSLF engine. So,
XSLT and XSLF are doing the same thing as DSSSL and therefore are competing
with DSSSL for the end-users mind share. However, DSSSL can process SGML and
XSL cannot. Thus, the only main difference now is that DSSSL can process
SGML and XSL cannot. However, in terms of features, XSL has as much features
as DSSSL and is competing for the developers mind share in the XML arena.
Also, because of the attitude of "let's get only hackers get access to
DSSSL", there is a lot of probability that XSL will win. Mainly Because of:
a) W3C marketing muscles
b) the "lets newcomers adapt to _our_ way and we should not help them learn
it" attitude.
c) vertue of the language itself especially if integration with XPointer,
XLL and XSL pattern match is done.

So, part because of _our_ _own_ attitude and part because of the W3C big
pockets, XSL can indeed replace DSSSL in the XML arena and do not need DSSSL
engine in any XSL implementation (And in fact none, actually are doing so,
except XSLJ an early experiment).

   Well, I could go off for a while here, but back to the original
topic.  My point in this is that you may not want to go too far to
draw someone in to DSSSL if they wouldn't be willing to invest the
time to really learn how to use it properly.  I guess I wonder if
we're looking for more users in terms of those who use DSSSL by using
Norm's Docbook style sheets, or terms of those who use DSSSL by
writing their own style sheets.

Restating what you say in other words: Let's limit the DSSSL users to the
Docbook DTD users only.

What can I say? Only that rigidity is the worst enemy.

About the identation and (((( stuff. Did anybody got the intellectual
honesty to do a run test a script with identation? If you do, you,ll notice
no degradation in execution time. Also, did you compared CSS and DSSSL
rules? (I know that Paul Prescod did, but he's now more involved in the XSL
community) If you use identation you'll notice a lot of similarities. Have
you thought that a CSS user could also learn DSSSL if presented the right
way? Have you thought that with the right formatting there is in fact more
similarities between CSS and DSSSL than with CSS and XSL? Did you took just
5 minutes to look at the similar scripts (doing the same kind of formatting)
script a) in CSS and script b) in DSSSL? If not, just do it and put yourself
in the shoes of somebody used to CSS scripts and that you have to show to
this person DSSSL. Would you tell this person: "this is only for docbook"?

If a lot of people in the DSSSL community think that way, just tell me. I
hate to be a Don quichote and would rather do something more useful. Do a
lot of people think that way? or simply that now they are more interested
with XSL :-) (its OK XSL is a good language). But I thought DSSSL could be
improved, that we could do some efforts to have it more accessible to
newcommers. Was I dreaming in Utopia? James, I understand you keep silent so
metime :-)

Didier PH Martin

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