RE: Leventhal's challenge misses the point (long)

Subject: RE: Leventhal's challenge misses the point (long)
From: "Heikki Toivonen" <heikki@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 28 May 1999 10:31:11 +0300
> [mailto:owner-xsl-list@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of David LeBlanc
> "Other than printed page layout, XSL has very little to add to CSS
> formatting capabilities,<snip>"
> True (maybe) ... as far as it goes.. should we forget that XSL also offers
> the ability to manipulate document structure which CSS is inherently
> incapable of?

...and which you can do with DOM and scripting.

> "The fact that interests us here however is that there already
> exists a way
> to do tree transformation that adheres to a W3C Recommendation
> today. It is
> called the Document Object Model (DOM) <snip>"
> Why use a screwdriver to screw a screw when a hammer is available? XSL is
> for transforming a document and presenting it... DOM is orientated more
> towards extracting information from a document as I understand it. Using
> DOM to do transformations for presentation is ah-hoc compared to using a
> tool designed for the purpose.

Isn't XSL also oriented toward extracting information from a document?
"Query" certain properies, rearrange, hide/show etc.

> "XSL Does Not Support Interactive Web Documents"
> My coffee maker doesn't make toast either. Seriously, why do XSL and CSS
> have to be regarded as competitors? It seems entirely feasible to me to
> have an XSL stylesheet that takes XML document content and transforms it
> into a CSS annotated webpage suitable for interaction. Along the

There are not yet 100% CSS implementations in released products, which
Michael also claims is partly due to XSL. And suppose there are: interactive
web page means DOM and scripts so what do we need XSL for?

> "Semantic Information Threatened by XSL"
> A fascinating argument whose logical extension is to stay with
> HTML on Lynx
> IMHO. He points out that FO's as the output of XSL means that a rendering
> engine would not have any of the document's original semantic
> information... darned if I want my printer or browser to understand the
> semantics of (for example) poetry. I want it to print/display it!

Who cares about the printer, it does not need to do any smart processing on
the document? And what if I'd really NEED to understand the semantics of
poetry, only offered via smart markup? It doesn't seem so important with
poetry but take a technical manual and the picture chages completely!

> "XSL has Set Back the Web at least 2 Years"
> Well, in web time, that's about 2 months, so no great loss.. if true.

Not this time. You cannot implement 100% CSS in two months. Do you see loads
and loads of XML documents on the web, or are they in fact converted to HTML
by XSL on the server?

> I somehow get the feeling that Mr Leventhal feels threatened by XSL and

Not personally, he feels the Web is threatened.

> other emerging standards. He seems to be making an argument that
> programers
> ought to be the ones to do transformations and a lot of other stuff. I
> don't think that supporting users creating XSL stylesheets or
> schemas or UI
> layouts is going to put programmers, database guys or GUI
> developers out of

To do any sort of "real work" transformation and styling with XSL requires
knowledge that is not different from programming skills.

> business anytime soon. If, as I infer from the tenor of his article, old
> ways are better, might I suggest he retire to clay tablets and
> cuneiform...
> if not cave walls and colored clay.

Come on...

  Heikki Toivonen

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