RE: Leventhal's challenge misses the point

Subject: RE: Leventhal's challenge misses the point
From: Linda van den Brink <lvdbrink@xxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 28 May 1999 16:32:10 +0200
I must protest to both of your interpretations to what I said. 

Firstly, I do not believe that non-programmers can't use XSL. I *am* a
non-programmer (and the fact that I subscribe to this list doesn't change
that) and I *have* learnt (well.. or am learning) to use XSL. 

Secondly, IMO it *would* matter if non-programmers couldn't use XSL. But it
would not matter if not all people could learn to use it. 

Let me elaborate a bit. Why is it so important that everyone (every Web
user?) can use XSL? Should every web designer be able to: 
- Write a consistent web of documents
- design an attractive look for these documents when displayed online
- design the proper navigation means so that any reader can travel through
the web and find and access the information they need
- maintain the documents in XML source
- create the necessary images in a drawing application
- create the means to generate the web of documents as designed, complete
with layout and navigational features (for example, an XSL stylesheet)

I think it would be hard to come by such (Renaissansistic) people. What's
wrong with having a team of people who complement each other if you want to
do professional electronic publishing, to the Web or otherwise? 

I'm off to enjoy my weekend now - nice talking to you!\


-----Original Message-----
From: Miles Sabin [mailto:msabin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]
Sent: Friday, May 28, 1999 3:15 PM
To: 'xsl-list@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx'
Cc: Nathan Langley
Subject: RE: Leventhal's challenge misses the point

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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