Re: (dsssl) Re: The Future of DSSSL

Subject: Re: (dsssl) Re: The Future of DSSSL
From: Ian Castle <ian.castle@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: 02 Jan 2002 15:31:50 +0000
On Wed, 2002-01-02 at 11:47, Karl Eichwalder wrote:
> Sebastian Rahtz <sebastian.rahtz@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> writes:
> > arguments for the future of DSSSL are good and fine, but if they don't
> > encompass XML, they are evanescent vapours, IMHO. 
> Not in my opinion.  "XML" will not make go away my legacy encoded SGML
> texts -- I just don't need namespaces.

I'm not so sure... All my new documents are XML - but processed with
DSSSL. I can convert SGML documents to XML very easily (sx + friends)...
Namespaces are a very attractive feature of XML, and quite hard to
resist. I'm not using SGML features which aren't in XML - but I can see
the need to use XML features which aren't in SGML. So XML may well make
my legacy SGML texts go away. I'm sure the majority of _users_ of the
toolset fall into this camp - but of course it is the _developers_
opinions that matter...
Certainly I think the requirements of XML should be considered in the
*Design* for a "new DSSSL processor" - even if things are never actually
implemented ;-).

However, in terms of implementation, the things that I am most
interested in would be support for the DSSSL page model on the input
side, and, on the output side, a PDF/PS backend (carefully skirting
round the role of TeX, jadetex etc)...

But really, it comes down to pragmatism... I suspect it would take a
great deal of effort to create a new DSSSL processor - more than a
single student could do in a single project? Conversely extending
openjade is probably something that could be done in such a timescale.

So unless there is someone with a lot of time, ability and enthusiasm
ready to step up, I would be sceptical of any new grand designs becoming
available (of course, I wouldn't want to put any one off).

My view is also extremely coloured by the use I make of the tools -
docbook markup, dsssl -> PDF/PS/HTML. Currently, [open]jade etc. does a
pretty good job of this. I've just received a printed copy of the latest
FreeBSD handbook - which shows that the output of jade/jadetex/tex can
indeed be very good. The point being that for realworld use openjade is
quite "finished" so there isn't, from my perspective, too much that
needs to be done.

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