Re: Language choice (was: Re: Interactive XML)

Subject: Re: Language choice (was: Re: Interactive XML)
From: Brandon Ibach <bibach@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 30 Jun 1998 20:03:49 -2900 (CDT)
Chris Lilley said:
> Sebastian Rahtz wrote:
> > short cynical  explanations:
> > 1. Microsoft cannot stomach the parentheses
> Can anyone?
   Not enough of us, I suppose.  Scheme is neither pretty nor
friendly.  However, who says Scheme has to be the only option?
   In his article describing why TCL isn't the right choice for a
"universal scripting language", Richard Stallman explains that Scheme
is a language powerful enough to implement other languages.  Thus, if
you've got Scheme at the heart of your scripting engine, you can type
in TCL whenever you like, and it can easily be converted to Scheme on
the fly for execution.  Indeed, Guile (GNU's offering for an
embeddable scripting language a la TCL) is designed to allow for
multiple "language frontends" which translate different syntaxes into
Scheme transparently.
   DSSSL is technically capable of meeting just about any need for
formatting and transformation (short of rare, specialized tasks such
as modern teen magazine layouts, but who cares if they use SGML or
not? :).  For those few areas where DSSSL is lacking some important
features unique to online presentation, minimal effort would be needed
to extend it.  For instance, DSSSL already has a prioritization system
in place for most types of styling and transformation rules.  This
could serve as an excellent basis for implementation of cascading.
   So, as demonstrated by XSLJ, what's keeping us from providing
different ways to access the DSSSL engine?

> > 2. DSSSL was not invented here
> I laughed a lot when I read that, but then again I know who is on the
> XSL WG. So, lets just say that the exact opposite is true.
   Is it just me, or is this argument just a tad petty/irrelevant?

> > 3. The W3C says they'll take their ball away if it doesn't include CSS
> A good point. W3C member organizations were just as keen to include CSS
> functionality in XSL as they were to include DSSSL style functionality.
> So, we did.
   See above... DSSSL (with a few extensions/fixes) should be able to
handle CSS-type stylesheets with one hand tied behind its back.

> > 4. DSSSL people like ghettos
> Well, they used to say that about SGML too but then XML happened and the
> ghetto turned into the main street. 
   And you know what makes a great XML parser?  An SGML parser with a
few tweaks... :)

> > 5. Its just much more fun to start again with a mishmash
> Not fun exactly, but combining the feature sets of two specifications
> with broadly similar aims but significantly different design decisions
> and priorities is certainly interesting.
   And time consuming...

> > 6. XSL is written in XML
> Well, its one less parser to write.
   XSL is written in XML about as much as DSSSL is written in SGML.
There are actually DTDs for DSSSL stylesheets, but you still need a
Scheme interpreter, just as an XML parser will deal with parts of an
XSL stylesheet, but you still need an ECMAScript interpreter.

-Brandon :)

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