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RE: Formatting Objects considered harmful

Subject: RE: Formatting Objects considered harmful
From: "Jonathan Borden" <jborden@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 18 Apr 1999 15:25:59 -0400

Paul Prescod wrote:
> Håkon Wium Lie wrote:
> >
> >   A Web
> >   of XFO documents can be compared to a Web of HTML documents with only
> >   FONT and BR tags.
> > Publishing semantically rich XML should be encouraged when the
> > semantics is globally known, e.g. MathML. Publishing arbitrary
> > XML should be discouraged.
> Are you saying that we should give up all of the bandwidth, performance
> and functionality benefits of shipping arbitrary XML to the client?
> http://HTTP.CS.Berkeley.EDU/~wilensky/CS294-5/bosak-lecture/slide017.htm
> I would suggest that the solution to the identified problem is for XFOs to
> move up the abstraction level to a little beyond HTML (i.e.
> HTML+footnotes+headers+footers, etc.). The right level of abstraction is
> pretty well documented in common word processors: they all have concepts
> of footnotes, headers, paragraphs, heading levels, cross-references, etc.
	I completely agree. The issue of CSS vs. XSL FO is now a well known issue
and has been almost completely hased out. XSL FO is akin to DSSSL FO which
is itself a well known standard. If we are *only* concerned with HTML and
web browser display, the argument for a need for XSL FO is perhaps
reasonable (though there are arguments agains this as well). There does
appear to be a need for formatting languages which are distinct from
HTML+CSS e.g. PDF/postscript/RTF/TeX etc etc etc.

	As it stands today, it is <em type="huge">far</em> easier to take a FOT and
transform this as PDF,postscript,HTML+CSS or RTF than it is to transform
from a HTML+CSS tree. The real argument (IMHO) is whether XSL FO is even up
to this task, not in comparison with CSS but in comparison with DSSSL.

Jonathan Borden

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