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Re: Formatting Objects considered harmful

Subject: Re: Formatting Objects considered harmful
From: Ian Hickson <py8ieh@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 13:40:18 +0100 (BST)

On Tue, 27 Apr 1999, James Clark wrote:

> How is this any different from the situation with CSS?  If I want to
> get good aural renderings from an arbitrary XML document using CSS,
> I'll have to supply appropriate aural properties in my CSS stylesheet.

True. The suggested solution to this problem is that instead of
transforming AXML (arbitrary XML) to FOs, you transform AXML to a
recognised and well known semantic XML application (most probably
XHTML), and style that using CSS.

The well known semantic XML application could be some document type
that does not exist yet. Its authors would have to invest time into
making various stylesheets for that document type, just as browser
authors at the moment have to carefully design stylesheets for XHTML
in their media.

> This issue here is whether to send (X)HTML or arbitrary XML to the
> client. That's a reasonable issue, and I think there are good
> arguments for keeping the XML that you send to the client close to
> HTML, but it's no basis for the claim that XSL Formatting Objects
> are harmful.

Another problems with XHTML is that there is no user-controlled input
to the styling.

With CSS, users can ensure that documents are readable by writing (or
using prewritten, or using UI accessed) user stylesheets.

For example, to make text that the mouse is over slightly bigger:

   *:hover { font-size: larger; }

...in the user stylesheet. How can that be done with FOs?

Ian Hickson 
U+2642 U+2651
U+262E U+2603 U+263A

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