Subject: Re: XSLT vs JSP
From: Sara Mitchell <smitchel@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 08:58:40 -0700
Well, it may not have been the intention of the W3 for editors  
to do style sheets for SGML or XML -- but it does happen (I'm 
an example). We went into SGML in ignorance, and the editors 
(myself and another technical writer) had experience doing style
sheets in DTP packages. 

We ended up doing FOSI's in ADEPT and stylesheets in Dynatext. 
(I know, it's not XSL, but I'm working on that too.)

Having said that, I also have to say that it was a larger 
stretch than any of us anticipated -- and the stylesheets were 
more like writing programs than the DTP packages we were used to. 
(Oddly enough, the tool that was suppose to be easy ended up 
being the one that was far more like programming.)

Was it easy? Not entirely. Was it doable? Yes. Did we do it as
economically as someone with a better background could have? 
Undoubtedly not.

One thing you should consider is that what the 'large to medium'
publishing houses do is not necessarifly what smaller shops 
will do. Given the current interest in XML, smaller shops are
to be interested -- and XML may in fact become a necessity
for them.  

The tool vendors themselves can do a lot to make this feasible. 
>From experience with two different tools and vendors, I can 
truthfully say that it can have a big impact -- and the vendor
who tried to 'hide the complexity' actually did a worse job of
supporting non-programmers in the stylesheet creation process.

The other thing that may make this a better choice is consultants
who can handle the tougher issues, allowing editors to handle the
easier, more accessible pieces. 

Is every editor going to want to do this? No...probably most of 
them won't. But some will and some will have to because of the
market, their employer, or other real-life factors. 

There is a balancing-act being debated here. I don't personally 
want to remove any functionality from those of you who need it
and are up to handling the requirements, but I do think that 
there is also a real need to keep the simplicitly in XSL also.


Chuck Robey wrote:
> On Tue, 29 Jun 1999, Paul Prescod wrote:
> > Chuck Robey wrote:
> > >
> > > But that was what it was intended to be, something that an editor could
> > > use to design a document.
> >
> > Do you have evidence to back up that assertion? Nobody I have spoken to
> > that was involved with that effort ever gave me the impression that DSSSL
> > was supposed to remove the need for specialized technical expertise.

> >
> > You know several editors working in medium-sized SGML or XML systems that
> > write all of their stylesheets themselves? Do they do both print and
> > online publishing? What style tools and languages are they using? Is it a
> > policy of these companies that people hired to do "editing" be technical
> > enough to write stylesheets for generic markup?


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