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Re: XSL and Web Native distributed computing, was Re: HTML is a

Subject: Re: XSL and Web Native distributed computing, was Re: HTML is a
From: James Tauber <jtauber@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 1999 10:30:06 +0800

Jonathan Borden wrote:
> James Tauber wrote:
> > Actually, back in early 1996 (hence pre-XML), when I was working at Sun
> > Labs, I proposed a "browser" that bootstrapped itself by downloading Java
> > classes and reading configuration information in SGML. The idea
> > was that the entire GUI and all the functionality would be downloaded in a modular
> > fashion so that the "browser" would be entirely extensible (hence
> > the scare quotes around browser, because it could in theory become any
> > application by downloading the right classes and reading the right SGML).
> >
>  Sounds a bit like "xul" eh?

Well, I know that *now* :-)

I suggested my idea to some HotJava people and they seemed mildly
interested ("we'll probably do things this way when we add support for
SGML"). In fairness to them though, had I suggested the same thing to
Netscape at the time, I would have been laughed all the way back to
Australia: "Use SGML to define the GUI for our browser? You aussies
crack me up. Why would anyone want to use SGML anyway? HTML does
everything everyone would want!"

> Is this similar to the notion of behaviors or namespace handlers?

Yes, although a lot of what I was suggesting back then involved multiple
ways of handling the same vocabulary. The example I used was where a
function is expressed in SGML and different classes could render it as a
formula, draw a graph, a table of values or present a form for the user
to enter a variable and the get the result. Because the GUI was
downloaded too, it could be modified to cope with the functionality
provided by new handlers or required by new vocabularies.

I don't know if Mozilla is doing things this way, but my 1996 proposal
also involved bookmarks being done in a similar fashion. I envisaged
bookmark handling classes, which basically would add to the GUI a button
for adding a bookmark which then modified the bookmark list (an SGML
document, of course, probably networked rather than local). Display of
the bookmark list would just be rendering an SGML document.

On the issue of namespace handlers (and trying to get the discussion
back to XSL), I envisaged from the outset that my FOP application would
have extensibility in its handling of FOs. The example I gave last year
was being able to embed SVG graphics into the FO document or CML, for
that matter.


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