Re: [xsl] xsl 2.0?

Subject: Re: [xsl] xsl 2.0?
From: "Kevin Brown" <kevin@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 2 Nov 2013 00:41:55 -0700
>I use XSL for transforming XML into a variety of other formats (usually =
XML but sometimes plain text or CSV). Why do you say people should be =
investing in CSS, not XSL-FO? How is this related to XSL?

I don't think anyone should make an immediate investment in CSS for print
media. I may date myself here but I can remember 20 years ago people giving
keynote speeches that the Internet would doom paper tomorrow. And here we
are 20 years later. The fact that XSL FO has not had a lot of participation
is from three fronts. 

One, in a few short specs it was nailed pretty well and it does what 90% of
the people want right now for *print*. There is really little to add to it
to cover the full intention of what it should be -- a standard for the
representation of Formatted (print) output.

Two, and likely most important, *print* has been around since the time of
Gutenberg and his presses. There are many non-standard-based approaches that
have existed long before the standard and that always impacts a
standards-based approach. And by "impacts" I mean financially for vendors.
Big guys who have other proprietary technologies have a vested interest in a
standards-based approach not succeeding.

Three, the need for *actual* printed content is diminishing as the digital
age progresses. But on this last point ...

Do not be fooled into thinking that it will be gone tomorrow.

Picture this, you walk into an IRS audit with your cell phone and show them
on screen your records for ... er, forget it. No way they are taking what is
on your screen as proof. And that goes for many things. Just today I visited
my car dealership to pick up my car, my propane tank was filled, I had a
doctor's appointment and FedEx delivered a few packages. Everyone of them
resulted in pages of documentation in print. Much of it probably from XSL FO
sources (I happen to know two of them were definitely).

XSL FO will survive for a long time for those that require true print output
and for a long time it will be the only Industry Standard way of doing it. 

CSS can and will add many things and eventually catch up to describing
*true* print media (as opposed to flowing web based content), but it will
take some time (read: years and years) and as it progresses most all XSL FO
vendors will do what we have done -- map all that CSS to real print
descriptions under the hood (i.e. map CSS to XSL FO) and then render it.

Kevin Brown

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