RE: Leventhal's challenge misses the point

Subject: RE: Leventhal's challenge misses the point
From: Miles Sabin <msabin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 28 May 1999 14:14:51 +0100
Linda van den Brink wrote,
> Maybe the solution there is to have teams of 
> specialists who do visual design and specialists who 
> take care of publication of (textual/other) source 
> adhering to this design. I've seen people who draw 
> their entire visual design of a web page in for 
> example paint shop pro, and then show this to a web 
> programmer who actually creates it for them. 

There's a couple of ways I can interpret this statement:

1. It doesn't matter if non-programmers can't use XSL: 
   they were never the intended constituency anyway.


2. It does matter if non-programmers can't use XSL.
   Maybe they won't be able to (which is a shame), but
   there are workarounds.

Either way, I think it's a bit of a problem.

In fact, I think we're getting quite close to what I
think is the chief defect of XSL. Despite what's said
about it, it doesn't really separate data-model from
presentation all that well ... that's why we'll probably
end up with your scenario of designers using drawing
packages and having to hand them over to programmers to

XML/XSL is a model-view type architecture. MV is good at 
breaking the dependency of data-models on presentation 
issues. Unfortunately it's very poor at separating 
presentation issues from the data model. That territory 
is handled quite nicely by the model-view-controller 
architecture: a data-model, a presentation model, and 
something which coordinates between the two.

Translating that into the XML space we'd have something 
like: an XML data model (as now), an XML presentation 
model (maybe a skeletal FO document), and something that 
binds the two together (effectively an imperative 
script). Application programmers would focus on the 
data-model; designers would focus on the presentation
model (supported by visual tools); and the glue would be 
done by a completely separate group ... perhaps they'd 
have to be programmer-designers, perhaps just 
programmers. Anyhow the upshot would be a clean
separation of concerns and skill-sets.



Miles Sabin                          Cromwell Media
Internet Systems Architect           5/6 Glenthorne Mews
+44 (0)181 410 2230                  London, W6 0LJ
msabin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx           England

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