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Re: Formatting Objects considered harmful

Subject: Re: Formatting Objects considered harmful
From: Håkon Wium Lie <howcome@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 1999 12:38:39 +0200 (MET DST)

Fredrik Lindgren wrote:

 > Reading this document helped me understand why some people don't want to
 > split XSL into separate parts XTL and XFO. 

I haven't heard anyone arguing for not having the split. The recent
discussions on this list was: given that there are two independent
parts, should there be two separate specifications?

Thus, arguments centered around reusability, orthogonality and
modularity, rather than accessibility and semantics.

 > (It's not the use of XTL
 > alone that is dangerous, it is the use of XFO alone that is)

Exactly, so not making the split would be a technical barrier to
publishing XFO along. 

 > At the end of the document Håkon outlines some ideas to avoid disaster.
 > I'd like to comment on one of them. It's the last one where it is
 > suggested that formatting objects should not be expressed in XML.
 > In the XSL draft the following text in the overview states:
 > "When the result tree uses the formatting vocabulary, a conforming XSL
 > implementation must be able to interpret the result tree according to
 > the semantics of the formatting vocabulary as defined in this document;
 > it may also be able to externalize the result tree as XML, but it is not
 > required to be able to do so."
 > As I see it, the real problem is that we don't have formalism to use to
 > specify the "semantics of the formatting vocabulary" yet. This means
 > that we can only specify it using the syntax.

I agree that we lack formalisms for "formatting semantics" and this
results in having to use English prose to describe it. But, I don't
see how you get from there to saying we need a syntax for formatting
objects. Certainly, neither DSSSL nor CSS has one.


Håkon Wium Lie             http://www.operasoftware.com/people/howcome
howcome@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx                      simply a better browser

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