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Re: Formatting Objects considered harmful

Subject: Re: Formatting Objects considered harmful
From: "Chuck White" <chuck@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 1999 10:52:29 -0700

>From: "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
>To: xsl-list@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>Subject: Re: Formatting Objects considered harmful
>Date: Thu, Apr 22, 1999, 8:41 AM

>Thus we lose most of the benefits XML offers to the Web - searchability,
>reuse, free exchange of information.
>And since there is a 'legitimate' business need to be served here - a way
>to have an XML site and make a profit off those who want enhanced features
>- I'm sure we're going to see this happening a _lot_, if FO's are supported
>It's ironic that FO's - a single vocabulary for presentation - have more
>potential (in my opinion, anyway) for 'balkanizing' the Web than raw XML's
>many voices.

I'm a new subscriber to this list, and the main reason I subscribed was this
FO argument. I'm not as technical as the vast majority of you, so please, I
beg patience here. Basically, at our company, FOs show promise as a means
for automating the task of sending classified markup to newspapers, which
don't all use the same markup in their systems (there are standards, but
they're not rigidly followed). We would use FOs to internally view ads (and
print out to show clients). Then we would convert the text to the correct
markup format depending on the newspaper. FOP makes things even better,
because then we can, potentially, use the same basic copy to create display
ads and save them as PDF files.
It seems to me that a source document can't be made UNsearchable no matter
what form the result tree takes. If I want my document to be searchable,
wouldn't I just make the source document publicly available?  If I want to
use FOs to develop stuff internally, how would doing that "Balkanize" the
Web (a rather unfortunate phrase in light of the current mayhem)? I agree
with the original post that began this thread that accessibility is an
issue, but only if I actually care about accessibility. Not all XML
documents will necessarily be part of the public domain, however. I just
want my employees to be able to churn out markup for different kinds of
newspaper classified ad production systems. I don't care about
accessibility, or searching, even, *in this case*. I would think there are
many, many internal corporate development scenarios where FOs could be an
extremely important tool. As for abuse, maybe somebody will write a browser
that optionally filters out all FO documents, if it's that important. Rather
than quash FOs and limit XML's functionality, wouldn't it be better to let
users decide? If we're that concerned about XML breaking the Web apart, then
it never should have been introduced in the first place. 

Chuck White
Creative Director
Advance Recruitment Advertising, Inc.
visit our online job site:

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