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Re: Formatting Objects considered harmful

Subject: Re: Formatting Objects considered harmful
From: David Carlisle <davidc@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 18 Apr 1999 23:36:02 +0100 (BST)

>  > 
>  > Are you saying that we should give up all of the bandwidth, performance
>  > and functionality benefits of shipping arbitrary XML to the client?
> Unless the semantics of the vocabulary is known on the other side, the
> client is worse off receiving arbitrary XML than receiving documents
> that have been downtranslated (as in the ladder of abstraction) to
> HTML or XHTML. I don't see any significant bandwidth or performance
> issues here.

An XML document might have many uses, being rendered in a browser is
just one of them. If you serve the original XML, plus a stylesheet that
tells a browser how to render it. Then the receiver can read the file,
and still have the original markup for other uses. Surely this has
to be the future, rather than just converting to HTML  or even XHTML at
the server side, and just sending that down the line. We could have done
that already with SGML and HTML where is the gain in using XML in that

> One solution which captures both is to downtranslate your internal XML
> to XHTML while retaining the original element types in the CLASS
> attribute:
>  <p class="question">How come?</p>
>  <p class="answer>Because.</p>
> As an extra bonus, you remain friendly with 100 million browsers.

And any recipient of the file has to translate it from this browser
oriented mess back to something usable! Surely the main_ point
about having a style sheet language is so that we can serve the
original documents. Not something that has been down translated
for web only use.

> This is an interesting idea. But, given that you are so close to HTML,
> why not use HTML (or, more likely XHTML) with a few CLASS attributes?

As you commented in an earlier mail, HTML presntation is not defined.
I can override the browser defaults with CSS if I know everything
that the browser will do, and which browser is being used. In other
words HTML is fine for what it can do, but it is totally unsuitable
as a carrier for the formatted version of a document.


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