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Re: Formatting Objects considered harmful

Subject: Re: Formatting Objects considered harmful
From: Alex Milowski <milowski@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 16:07:12 -0700 (PDT)

On Tue, 27 Apr 1999, [iso-8859-1] Håkon Wium Lie wrote:

> I wrote:
>  > > If servers output XFO instead of (X)HTML (or other globally known,
>  > > abstract formats) harm is done.
>  > 
>  > It would make absolutely no sense to do this.
> No? Not even if you wanted to create a semantic firewall?

IMHO, formatting objects lose significant value when they can't be tied to
the original source.  This does not mean the orthogonality that they
provide to an implementor is not significant.

>  > Given this, realizing a document as an FO document would provide little
>  > value to a client browser because the browser would still have to do the
>  > layout and placement of areas within the regions and also deal with the
>  > non-linear aspects of the flows.  If a browser could do all this, then
>  > applying the tree construction portion of XSL should be trivial.
> Yes, XTL is trivial compared to XFO and I don't think we will see
> browsers that support XFO and not XTL. On the generator side, however,
> I think we will see tools outputting XFO as they output PDF today.

The fact that the InDelv browser exists would seem to imply that the
browser vendors could implement formatting objects if they choose to do
so.  InDelv, as I understand it, is a small company that has done a
pretty good job implementing an XSL browser.

>  > Given the above, I don't think we should worry too much about people
>  > shipping FO documents around.  It really isn't practical.
> Did you try my demo described in [1]? In what way isn't it practical?
> [1] http://www.operasoftware.com/people/howcome/1999/foch.html#demo

It is quite possible, but why?  The browser still has to do all the
really hard parts and it now doesn't have the ability to have "back
pointers" to the original XML document.  It is possible but not practical 
in the that the value is so incredibly low.  

R. Alexander Milowski                                         alex@xxxxxxxxxxxx
               Remember: Stressed spelled backwards is desserts.

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